Yes, you read right. The US Federal Trade Commission tells us that legally, Social Intelligence Corp (a private company) can archive up to 7 years of your online life.
We already know that prospective employers will often Google applicants, and they probably do check Facebook accounts, Twitter and any other place a person may care to post something online.
7 years is a long time.
In 7 years, our teens will be in the job marketplace, and something they wrote as a 14-year-old may now be something that becomes a black mark against them. A reason not to get that job.
Things like this are all the more reason to monitor your child’s online life, and their smartphone life (because much of their online life will be springing forth from their phone…), and to counsel them on proper online etiquette (always be polite; if you wouldn’t say it, don’t post it; privacy, privacy, privacy; don’t give your information to strangers on or offline).
Keeping everything private is definitely the way to go. If you monitor accounts, phones, and are in charge of privacy settings, you’re already a long way to protecting your child’s future working life.
Sitting your teens down, and explaining to them, in no uncertain terms, that what they do today online will affect them later in life, should be part of your parenting routine.
Although some good news does come from it: if you don’t get a job because of something you said or did online, you must be told why, and SIC can’t keep reusing the same information. So you can go back and delete or make it private.
My advice to parents and teens is this: absolutely think before you ever post a comment or a pic (especially on Facebook) and make sure everything is as private as you can make it.
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