When I’m reviewing candidates for hire, one of the first things I do when I’m interested in bringing someone in for an interview is scour social media.
While it feels strange to browse through their selfies and see silly snapshots of their social lives, I find searching through social media platforms to be a valuable tool when evaluating a person’s character and judgment - especially as it relates to their behaviour in the online space.
It’s not the duck-face close ups, or cocktail-swigging party shots that put up red flags for me (as long as those posts are shared only on their personal profiles), but those off-the-cuff, ill-considered social media posts that are the greatest cause for concern.
I’ve been in the uncomfortable circumstance of having to let someone go due to poor judgment made online. One bad tweet, meant in jest, ended up costing someone his job. And, unfortunately nowadays, this is becoming a common occurrence.
In an article shared in The Sydney Morning Herald titled “The demise of would-be MPs is a warning to oversharing parents,” it is revealed that a federal Labour candidate in Melbourne withdrew from the race thanks to revelations about his past inappropriate social media posts - and candidates from other parties have now stepped down for similar reasons as well.
As social media continues to evolve, it’s becoming more important for parents to educate our children about the dangers of irresponsible posting online. Children need to understand that once a photo or comment is shared, it can live on forever. Their parents could potentially see it, as well as their future employers, who may decide to scour the internet as well.
I always tell my children that when it comes to their devices, no matter the settings or cyber secrets they may think they know, there is simply no such thing as privacy. If you share it, someone will see it.
But the issue of irresponsible posting doesn’t stop at the posters themselves anymore. Now, parents are guilty of oversharing, too.
I’m often surprised by the number of parents who share intimate details about their child’s medical conditions, mental disorders, or behavioural struggles online. I understand the need to bond over the challenges of parenting, but it’s important to know that no online group is a security-safe space.
The article in the Herald concludes with an important message, that “this election has taught us that there are no limits to how deep people will dig for dirt. Every time we hit the share button, parents need to pause and consider that their post may one day be used against their child on the front page of every newspaper in the country. It’s one thing for a young person to damage their own career prospects, it’s quite another for their parents to do it for them.”
You may think it’s cute to post nude photos of your baby now, or to share their snarky remarks and medical happenings in your online community in search of support, but it’s important to remember that with each post, we could be potentially ruining our child’s social media footprint.
Let’s practice what we preach when it comes to consent and respect surrounding the sharing of posts on social media. Just as we would expect our children to think before posting photos of others, or sharing personal information of friends online, we should be doing the same when it comes to posting about our own kids.
Bianca Bujan is a mom of three, writer, editor, and marketing consultant. Find her on Twitter @biancabujan and Instagram @bitsofbee.