Manage your digital reputation

Yahoo! conducted an online survey with Ipsos OTX in April 2010 to gain insight into consumers' behaviors and perceptions with respect to online safety. The survey is based on a sample size of 2,003 Internet users in the United States, ages 18 - 64 years old.

Parents are taking action, but cyber-bullying education is needed:

Yahoo! celebrates the parents who are proactively monitoring their children's online safety and are having appropriate discussions with their kids. The Yahoo! survey shows:

  • 78% of parents are concerned about their children's online safety.

  • 70% of parents talk to their kids about online safety at least 2-3 times a year.

  • 74% of parents are connected to their children's profiles on social networking sites.

  • 71% of parents have taken at least one action to manage their children's use of the Internet or cell phones.

  • Check to see where children are searching online.

  • Set time limits for children's use of computers or cell phones.

  • Set parental controls on video sites.

  • Use filters to limit where children go on the web.

It was no surprise to discover that cyberbullying continues to be a concern for parents. While parents are acutely aware of the potential issues, they are unsure of appropriate action. Data shows:
  • 81% of parents know what cyberbullying is.

  • 1 in 4 adults (25%) who are aware of cyberbullying have either been victims or know someone else affected by cyberbullying.

  • 37% of parents feel that they know what to do about cyberbullying.

  • Almost three-quarters (73%) of people want their child's school to play an active role in teaching kids about online safety and citizenship.

Tips for parents to help prevent cyberbullying:
  • Own your digital reputation. The internet is a public space, so before you share photos or personal details, make sure it's info that you'd share with teachers, colleges or job prospects.

  • Keep your private information under your control. Keep Internet conversations (and your user names/profiles) free of personal information like your password, full name, or even the name of your school, is important.

  • Be nice! (and pass it on). Be respectful online and treat people the way you'd want to be treated. If someone is being disrespectful or bullying you, try to ignore them and use privacy tools to block them from viewing your full profile and contacting you.

  • Know your rights. You have the right to not respond to e-mail or other messages that are inappropriate or make you feel scared. If you get a message that doesn't feel right, show it to your parents, guardians, or another trusted adult and report the incident to your Internet service Provider.

  • Have a family chat. Talking with your parents or guardians doesn't mean giving up your privacy. Everyone benefits when you're on the same page when it comes to online activities, including when you can go online, how long you can stay, and what activities you can do online.
People need to take control of their digital reputations:

Education is key to empowering people to be proactive about protecting their digital reputations, and according to the recent Yahoo! online safety survey, 65% of people do not know or are not sure what a digital footprint* is and 31% do not feel they are in control of their online image**.

The survey also concluded that 48% of respondents do not realize or are not sure if the information they put on the Web will remain online forever and 7% think that it won't remain online forever if they simply delete it. Some other key findings include:
  • 20% of people plug their own name into a search engine once a month or more; 49% do it 2 - 3 times a year or less.

  • Adults ages 18-34 are more proactive about managing their digital profiles than adults 35 - 49 and adults 50+.

  • These are the top three actions young adults take to manage their digital profiles:

  • Limit personal information available on social networking sites/blogs.

  • Keep strict privacy settings on social networking sites/blogs.

  • Avoid allowing people access to social networking sites/blogs unless there is a relationship offline.
Everyone should conduct an online search of their name or their child's name once a month. It's not a vanity search; its learning what's out there and ultimately taking control of your digital reputation.

Simple tips to manage a digital reputation:
  • Know your connections: Only connect with people you know offline.

  • Think before you post: Once something is posted online, it's virtually impossible to take back because words, pictures, and videos can be easily forwarded, copied and taken out of context.

  • Protect your personal information: Posting personal information or photos can identify you to strangers. Never reveal personal information to people unless you are friends with them offline.

  • Configure your settings: Take the time to understand the profile settings that are available to you on websites and social networks, and tailor those settings for you.

  • Understand your digital footprint: On a monthly basis, search for your name on search engines, like Yahoo! Search, and social networks to understand what type of content is associated with you.
About Catherine Teitelbaum, Director of child safety, Yahoo!

Yahoo! operates a safety site, Yahoo! Safely that has distinct resources and links for teens and parents, as well as informative content from safety experts including Common Sense Media, ConnectSafely and WiredSafety.

The site also hosts comprehensive guides for safer practices for using Yahoo! products including Yahoo! Mail, Yahoo! Messenger, Yahoo! Groups, and more. Yahoo also provides online safety information and tools and tips in the parents section of Yahoo! Kids and the parenting section of Yahoo! Shine.

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