Recently, I spoke at my local chamber of commerce about online issues, and a number of attendees approached me about a section of my presentation which they thought was particularly relevant for teenagers, college students and young professionals. They encouraged me to write about it and share my advice.
As the father of two teenagers who has been studying online reputation issues for the past three years and as the author of new book on the topic, How to Protect (Or Destroy) Your Reputation Online, I agreed it was a good idea to spread the word.
Here are five key things that young people need to be concerned about when it comes to their reputation online.
Follow the rules
The best way to have a good online reputation is to have a good offline reputation. This starts with being respectful of life’s many rules and the laws of the land. As I was finishing my book, I was watching the NFL Draft and one of the biggest stories was that of Laremy Tunsil, the eventual first round draft choice of the Miami Dolphins. Tunsil’s Twitter account was hacked moments before the draft and a picture of him smoking marijuana was published for the world to see. He dropped 13 places in the draft, and it is estimated that it cost him about $10 million. Here’s the point: No matter what you think of the marijuana laws in our country, it is still against law for anyone in the United States under the age of 18 to smoke pot, even in Colorado. Tunsil broke the rules and it cost him dearly. We have to teach our kids to follow the rules, plain and simple. Breaking life’s rules is a quick way to get yourself in trouble and one way to easily have problems online.