Back to school to-do list: Improve your child’s online reputation

StudentMakeover helps students get rid of the bad posts and create good content about themselves.

Our kids are online and playing with social media, often before they have the maturity to do so. That rule that you can’t be part of social media sites before 13? Every kid I know broke it in some way and most of them by age 11.

Now fast forward  to age 17 or 18 when they are applying to college or age 21 or 22 when they are trying to start a career. All those stupid things they posted online, all those awful pictures they posted and took? They are all searchable by colleges and future employers. All the things their “friends” or “frenemies” or even the school bully posted about them, they are there, too.

Harvard University recently rescinded offers for 10 students it had previously accepted based on their social media content. 

A Kaplan Test Prep study of 350 college admissions officers found that 35 percent had looked at prospective students’ online profiles. 

Parents don’t want their kids to become the example of what not to do.

Now BrandYourself, an online software, which helps people protect their online reputations, especially in business, has a package for students called StudentMakeover, studentmakeover.brandyourself.com.

For $100 a year, you get the software that tells you what your online reputation currently is and how to improve it. It will flag posts as they come up of things that are harming your reputation.

Colleges and employers are looking for these things, says BrandYourself CEO, Patrick Ambron, chief executive officer at BrandYourself.

They screen for things such as:

  • Discriminatory or provocative comments
  • Anything that highlights drug use or intoxication
  • Bullying or aggressive attitude toward people
  • Badmouthing or being badmouthed

While 500,000 professionals are using the BrandYourself software to help them be competitive in the job market, kids, Ambron says, might actually need the student version, more.

“They have so much more content out there,” Ambron says. “They haven’t been educated. They don’t see that it goes wider than their group of friends.”

All the stuff you post online can be there forever, but it doesn’t have to be. “The idea is not to have them never make mistakes,” Ambron says. “You want to make sure those don’t follow you forever.”

If you cannot get rid of the posts because they are not ones that you posted and delete, StudentMakeover will show you how to surround that post with great content you create about you: blogs you write about things you’re doing, Tweets or posts you make about things you’re excited about, etc.

It’s about burying the bad posts further down what pops up in Google and having the great stuff rise to the top.

If a college has a big stack of applications or an employer has a big stack of resumes, who are they going to chose from? It’s not the person who has a horrible online reputation. It might not be the person who has no online reputation. Instead, they are looking for a person who has an online presence that shows he will be a good fit, Ambron says.