As a parent, you’re likely worrying about what your young children and teenagers are doing on Facebook, especially with the constant flow of news stories surrounding cyberbullying and online predators. But what about your college kids? After all, Facebook started as a networking site solely for college students, and today, about 96% of college students have a Facebook account. How is ones Facebook use affecting that individual’s college experience as well his or her life beyond college (i.e. the post-grad job search)?
Facebook and the College Experience
If you have kids in college, then they’re probably on Facebook. Studies show that participation on social media sites can have both good and bad effects on college students.
The Good: Facebook, Twitter feeds and blogs actually keep students connected and in touch not only with their friends, but with the world around them. Social media sites can encourage college kids to join extracurricular activities. They can receive updates on classes, meetings and events. Staying connected with friends can also help boost students’ self-esteem, keeping them happier and more motivated.
The Bad: Joining Facebook can have a negative effect on schoolwork and jobs, as students might end up spending more time online than studying or working. Recent studies show that participation on social networking sites can lead to depression, as kids might not feel like they live up to certain expectations because they don’t have enough online friends, or they are victims of cyberbullying.
Facebook Beyond College
So what can parents do to keep their college kids safe from the negative effects resulting from various uses of Facebook? Even though your child might not be living under your roof anymore, you can still start a conversation with them about online safety – especially when it comes to job applications after college. As more college grads are using sites like Facebook to search for jobs, employers are using the same sites in the hiring process. College students should be careful about what they post online.
This is where Internet reputation management comes in, helping kids to keep their social media profiles clean and appropriate, so questionable content doesn’t come back to haunt them later. A profile filled with photos of inappropriate behavior could cost your child his or her dream job.
Start the Conversation Early
Now that Facebook is available to kids in high school, middle school and even grade school, it’s important to start a conversation before college about Internet safety with your kids. TrueCare can help you safely monitor your kids’ online activity without “spying” or violating their privacy. When your kids understand the potential dangers of the Internet early on, they can more easily benefit from the “good” of Facebook and avoid the “bad” which may arise from ones participation on the social networking site.