We live in the era of social networks. Everyone, from kids that fake their age to sign up for websites that usually have a 13+ rule to older people who barely know how to navigate their computers or phones, seems to have an account on all types of social media websites. In many cases, depending on the job you have or other circumstances in your life, it can become necessary to have profiles online.
However, many people do not realize that with every picture, comment, or reaction, they leave a trace on the internet forever. Thus, a path that will often not affect their life, rarely it might have a positive effect, and sometimes, only sometimes, but often enough to pose a risk, it can cause us troubles.
However, it is a fact that nobody is perfect, and people can change and improve. For example, a person that might have written something negative and, let’s say, islamophobic on the internet ten years ago may have been influenced by their family and people they were surrounded by, and they might have changed entirely since then.
However, the old posts might still come back to haunt them, as they will often not even remember what they had posted in the past. Alternatively, as mentioned already, something less severe but embarrassing, or something you would simply like to forget, can also be found in your internet past. Because of that, it is essential to know what steps you can take to prevent such things from happening.
The first thing is to Google your name and any usernames that people might connect to you. Pretend you are a private detective and check everything – social media profiles, Google Images results, and more. There might be things online that you have completely forgotten about, but they are very easily found. If you manage to find any old accounts that you are not using anymore, the good idea is to delete them entirely after potentially saving any memories you want from them.
Check all of your current social media profiles, too, including, of course, any previous ones that you can remember. While it will probably be impossible to find and check every comment you might have written in the past, your posts, photos, people you are following, or posts that you have been tagged in should be thoroughly checked. Something that you might funny, such as a reference to sex or drugs, might give a completely different impression to a potential job recruiter, and it might cost you a job opportunity.
Another thing that can help you is asking another person, someone you trust, to check your profiles for you. While you might have a blind spot for something inappropriate or offensive, another person might see it more clearly and warn you about it. It might also be an opportunity to talk about different opinions with someone and maybe even learn something new.
Having funny, silly, or even somewhat edgy content on your social media is not a crime, but it might not give off the impression you want for yourself. Dirty or dark jokes do not have to be offensive, but they can still seem unprofessional, just like the pictures from a wild party that you have been at. Because of that, it is a good idea to check your privacy settings and maybe lock some content on your social media profiles, if not making the complete profiles private, except for friends or people you choose. That way, you can be like Hannah Montana and have the best of both worlds. That is also a surprisingly accurate comparison, as it can allow you to have both your professional and personal persona on the internet.
Take a look at our previous article about; 5 common scams that are targeting teens
Learn more on how to stay online safe at watchdog.dev