Harry L'École des Réseaux Sociaux
  • An online reputation is what other people think about you. It is shaped by your digital footprints; the content you create, post and share and the nature of interactions you have with others. It also includes the content that others have created, posted and shared of you or about you. Some of this content may be private, but much of the content that shapes an online reputation is public. Who you choose to connect with or follow online can also influence how others perceive you.
  • Others can see the type of reputation you have by searching for your name through a search engine or on a social media app. The results they find will give them an impression of who you are as a person and may reveal personal data as well. They may think positively or negatively about you based on what they find.
  • People who search for your reputation online could include new friends who want to know more about you. For a child, their school could also search for them to see how that child is behaving online. For adults, it is common for companies or potential employers to search for their reputation online before offering them an interview for a job.
  • Companies, groups and organisations – including schools – also have online reputations. These can be affected by personal online reputations of people who are part of or affiliated with them. They will usually have policies or agreements on how employees/members should behave, in order to protect an organisation’s online reputation.
  • Online reputations grow and develop with time – they can include content that has been placed and shared online over a number of years. A child’s online reputation may have started from birth or even before they were born – posting baby scan images or newborn baby photos of them on social media were the first steps in creating their online reputation!
Conseil L'École des Réseaux Sociaux
  • Discuss with your child what a positive reputation looks like – what can they do online to show the best of themselves and to help others see them in a positive way? Examples might include being kind and respectful to others, contributing to or running a fundraiser for charity or creating a video that teaches others.
  • Explain to your child that their online reputation can be shaped by others. When they begin to use social media or interact with more people online, it is important for them to check regularly what other people can publicly see about them online, and the impression that creates. This could also include who your child follows or interacts with online. The easiest way to check this is to search for your child’s name/username on sites/services they use to see what appears publicly. Searching their name on a search engine may also produce some results.
  • If someone has posted or shared something that negatively affects your child’s reputation, the best immediate solution is to ask that person to hide or delete that content from public view online. If that person refuses, and you believe the content breaks the rules or is unacceptable, then you should report it to the game/app provider on which the content appears.
  • Remind your child that their reputation can affect the reputation of others – such as their family or school. Considering how their online behaviour might also affect others is important.
  • Work with your child to find and use privacy settings that can control who can see the content they post online. These settings can be used to make content more private, which means it will not be included in a search engine’s results. Remind your child that, even with privacy settings, things they post online can be reposted or copied by others. They should always consider carefully who they are sharing their content with.