Creating a Family Social Media Policy: part 1

A Facebook comment  on my post  about needing a Personal Social Media Policy inspire me to think about the need for a Family Social Media Policy. Social Media Policies are not just good for businesses, not just good for people, they are good and necessary for any organization and that includes a family!

Why Develop a Social Media Policy for Your Family?

Let’s think about it for a second.  The internet use to be fairly simple. We all had weird screen names that included many odd numbers since the whole world was on AOL and there could only be so many johnnycakes 3000. No one was who they really were in real life and the rules were simple: hide  everything!

It’s gotten much more complicated now.

For one, the mysterious “they” are really your friends, family, co-workers and neighbors. Instead of hiding everything, it feels much less scary to let your cousin see the picture of your kids in their undies on Christmas morning. Of course, now that undies picture IS attached to your name and your cousin has very similar pictures of YOU at that age.. also in your underwear.  What happens if he posts them, or a future boss looks you up on line and thinks he sees child pornography? Plus no matter how much you love the old school Metallic video links that he shares on Facebook, do you really want Stan from the accounting to see wearing Wonder Woman Under-roos?

One of the major concerns about social media right now is Facebook and the privacy issues. On top of that Facebook post are now being indexed by both BING and OneRiot.  That means if that very same cousin tags the picture of you in your Wonder Woman Under-roos, you better hope you have your privacy setting set up right.  So it IS because you don’t want your Underoo modeling to be plastered all over the internet and to show up when your next employer Googles your name. That is a real thing to be concerned about.

The problem is it’s hard to get a grasp on social media ourselves meanwhile our kids are off doing their own thing online! Something silly and insignificant now can cause real damage later on. I bet, as a concerned parent, you don’t want the pictures of your child, passed out at a party  to be found by HIS future employee either, but that is the world we live in. That’s human nature. We based our decisions on what we know, what we see. Would you hire this kid?

Families Growing Up with Social Media

I think even we find it hard to remember when we lived without a cell phone. Our children take this new world of social media as part of life and don’t think much of it.  I know I have seen my own older sons, now almost 19 and 23, flit around online,  creating profiles and then abandoning them haphazardly never to recall their password again.  While many parents are concerned and teach their kids about online predators, we also need to teach and educated our children about  what they leave behind online. Maybe they don’t think ahead enough, like many adults as well, what happens to what they send off when they hit send and where their leavings might end up! 

As social media become more and more important, what they put online is part of their identity. It is increasingly attached to our real selves, is searchable and not too private and is part of our online reputation.  In fact, for professional posters who understand this, what is online becomes part of our professional resumes.  

At the #140 Character Twitter NY Conference 2010, there was a panel comprised of students just on the verge of finishing college and entering the professional world. Every single one of them had already aligned themselves with fantastic job opportunities and connections in their chosen industries. While they were very bright and ambitious individuals, they all credited social media as a key component to finding connections that became relationships that became offers.

The good news is that our children will grow up with this wonderful new medium that has the ability to connect people like never before and provide amazing opportunities for them. The bad news is that, as parents, we have the additional responsibility of teaching them to wield this power wisely.

Creating a Family Social Media Policy allows you to teach your child valuable life skills. You allow your child the ability to use the internet freely and feel secure that they understand privacy boundaries and online safety. As these times morph and change, adding a family social media policy to your parenting tool set is a realistic and proactive step to take to ensure your family’s continued success …..

…..because you don’t want them to be these kids someday.

Now that I have convinced you
that the continual existence of all that you love and hold dear
is contingent on creating
 a Family Social Media Policy,
I shall ask you to wait for:
Steps Towards Creating  a Family Social Media Policy
Creating a Family Social Media Policy: part 2
It will be out in time to save us all!