Teens, Scholarships and What they Post Online

We are becoming a broken record as we try to explain to our kids what they post online can potentially affect their future.

The Internet is a wonderful educational tool but can also work against us if not properly used.

The dangers of technology, especially for kids and teens, has been in the media for the past several years.  Whether it is cyberbullying or Internet predators, South Florida especially is not a stranger to these horrific events.

For teens looking forward to higher education and especially applying for scholarships to help them with financing college, they need to think before they post on their social networking sites such as Facebook.

According to a 2011 Kaplan study, 80% of college admissions are using search engines and a students’ social media presence to screen their applicants which means your college application isn’t the only papers being reviewed about your child.  Exactly how does their digital footprint look?

Now let’s talk money.  Especially in today’s economy many families and students are applying for as many scholarships are they can.  Recent reports, like college admissions, are also using students’ social media presence to determine whether they are deserve the scholarship.

Facebook is obviously the largest social networking site that many use.  Isn’t it time to encourage your teen to sit down and clean it up?  Especially with the latest Timeline, it is simply a click away to see pictures or comments that maybe just don’t need to be there.

You may think because your child’s Facebook is set on private you are safe.  Don’t be fooled.  If it’s online, it’s usually public information – remember your child is friends with friends that may not not have their privacy settings set as high.

Don’t risk losing a scholarship or a college of your choice for a dumb remark online or a compromising photo!

3 Tips to maintain your teen’s digital resume:

  • Set up your Google, MSN, Bing, Twilert alerts (always know when there is something online about you so you can address it immediately). It only takes a few minutes, it is free and can save you a lot of reputation repair later on.
  • Buy your own URL in your teen’s name.  This can be less than $10.00 through GoDaddy and you can own your own online real estate.  Building a site can be easy and if you can do it with your personal interests, it sets the tone  for your future.
  • Create a Blog about you and your interests.  This is free.  Use your name as the URL.  You can use Blogger.com or WordPress.com.  Both are user friendly and again, create it about you and your interests.  Keep your grammar and spelling in check.

If you need to know what happens when you don’t maintain and take pre-cautions with our online profile, read Google Bomb!  This is a cautionary tale of how a flourishing and successful career of over a decade can literally be brought to its’ knees due to a few keystrokes and a click of a mouse.

WATCH VIDEO.

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Protecting Your Internet Identity Book is Here!

It’s finally here!  Isn’t it time you protect you and your family’s Internet identity?

By Ted Claypoole and Theresa Payton

Who is looking at you online?

 The government, your neighbors, employers, friends – the short answer is EVERYONE.  This book is a handy guide that digs deep past the media headlines to tell you how your data is collected and used.  The author’s provide practical tips on how to regain control of your internet persona while also fending off identity thieves and other cybersnoops.
And, for those with kids in their lives, Chapter 9 is dedicated to digital natives – the generation born into our digital age that cannot imagine life without instant access to info!
Chapter 6 gives pointers on internet impersonation:
The Face of Online Impersonation
Internet image impersonation is easy to do. Anyone can open a free email account with Yahoo!, Hotmail, Google, or any other email provider and use your name. Setting up a social media account on social networking sites such as Facebook or MySpace is equally simple. With a little information about your life, your impersonator could even fool those people closest to you.
Unfortunately, it can be very difficult to remove these accounts from the Internet. Most Online companies assume that an account is opened in good faith, and you will probably have to prove the damage was done by an imposter (and prove that the imposter is not simply another person who happens to have the same name), before a site such as Yahoo! or Facebook would consider closing an active account.
We have a 6 question quiz for victims of internet defamation; here is question #1:  
Do You Have The Facts to Support a U.S. Lawsuit to Protect Your Online Image?
1)    If someone has written unflatteringly about you online, were those comments
a)    False;
b)    Intentionally malicious or made with a reckless disregard for the harm they might cause;
c)     Harmful;
d)    Not stated in a formally privileged way, such as filed legal pleadings;
e)     All of the above?
Order today on Amazon!
Follow Theresa Payton on Twitter.

Anderson Cooper Discusses Cyberstalking with Sue Scheff

I was more than thrilled to meet Anderson Cooper and must say I was humbled by his sincere concern for those that are victimized by others that are being destroyed online by vicious keystrokes.

For those that don’t know my story, it starts in 2000 and ended in 2006 with a landmark victory for Internet Defamation and invasion of privacy.  My stories were written and published by Health Communications Inc (HCI – home of Chicken Soup for the Soup book series) and over the past decade, my mistakes and my knowledge has helped thousands of people and families to make better decisions for their teens and their virtual lives.

Whether you are considering residential therapy or thinking about creating a Facebook page, you will learn from the mistake I made.  After spending years in litigation – with two major victories – and almost being silenced to tell my story, I am here to not only share my story, but to be sure what happened to my daughter and myself doesn’t happen to others, but to let you know that what you post online today – can and will haunt you tomorrow!

Check out part of my segment on Anderson Cooperclick here.

My books: Wit’s End and Google Bomb are both available on Amazon!

Cyber Hawks that Stalk!

Order today!

A new HEIGHT of cybercrimes, stalking, stolen identities, cyber-corruption and criminal predators with a keypad

Do you believe your online image, reputation and character are protected? Firewalls broken – hackers hacking – and you are now virtually invaded! Learn from Sue Scheff’s $11M defamation verdict that changed Internet Culture.

Google Bomb (n) or “link bomb”: Internet slang for a certain kind of attempt to raise the ranking of a given page in results from a Google search. (Wikipedia)

Sue Scheff was a regular person who found out in the most evil way what slander awaited her in cyberspace. Scheff’s business, reputation, and identity were stolen, livelihood ruined, her mental health threatened after viral defamatory statements emerged. Scheff was hit with a Google bomb.

Like an epidemic, Google bombs are the latest lethal legal weapon to destroy character and reputations. Our First Lady was hit. No one is immune.  We must be proactive in maintaining our virtual profile.

Still standing and thriving after all she endured both personally and professionally, Scheff now helps others understand the depths of the Internet and what happens when revenge turns to e-venge.

IN THE NEWS: Over 400 newspapers have featured this landmark case. Including a 4-Part LA Times Series, Washington Post, Huffington Post, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, AARP, and many more.  Here are snippets of Scheff’s advice on how to protect your image:

 

  • Wall Street Journal “Until you go through a vengeful attack on your good name, service or business, you have no idea what a Google bomb can do to you.”
  • AARP“Limit the amount of information you provide on the Internet,” she now advises others. “The Internet is not only an educational tool, it can be a lethal weapon,”
  • Washington Post“if you don’t own your own name, someone else will.”
  • Family Circle“Use extreme caution…Whatever you say in the kitchen goes into your kid’s ears and can come out on the computer screen – and go viral!”
  • LA Times – We need very real repercussions for violating a reporter’s privacy in a motel room with a peep camera for mass voyeuristic consumption.”

 LA Times –The malicious stroke of a key has become the equivalent of a cyberbullet.” – Sue Scheff

Order Google Bomb today!

Digital Journal Interviews Sue Scheff on Google Bomb Book

Google is the world’s top search engine used by millions each day. Anyone can be defamed easily, all searchable through Google. Author Sue Scheff talks about the Google Bomb and its impact on our life.
The Internet as a technology for information and quick, inexpensive communication may be fascinating for millions around the globe, but if put to malicious use against someone, it can be a paralyzing weapon.
That is what happened in the case of Sue Scheff, author of Google Bomb (HCI Books, 2009). In her book, co-authored with lawyer John W. Dozier, Sue tells the story of her victimization through serial defamatory attacks on the web that destroyed her professional career and trampled her personal reputation as well as her social life. Just by Googling her name, or that of her organization, countless people could mark her and her organization as evil entities, all because of false, malicious, and unchecked accusations (and even effusive abuse) made against her by someone who failed to use her for her own vested interests.

In today’s world, Google has become the measure of one’s reputation – hence the term “Google Bomb”. Standing up against the coercion, however, Sue finally won the historical $11.3 million defamation suit against the culprit responsible for her loss. It was very informative talking to Sue for an interview to run in the journal Recovering the Self (Vol. 3, No 1). Following is a slightly abridged version of Sue’s interview.

Read the entire interview here.

Teen Seasonal Employment: Employers Now Asking for Facebook URL – What Does Yours Say?

Please include your Facebook link when applying for a job

At first glance you would think this is a misprint, but after applying online to a health food store, a young college grad student was asked to provide his Facebook link as part of the application process.  Before doing this, he did change his photo, and this is not implying his photo was inappropriate, however really wasn’t what you want a potential employer to view.  It was a silly photo of him and his friends on a Merry-Go-Round, not exactly a first impression you want a future employer to view or misunderstand.

In reality, many employers and college admissions are viewing Facebook pages.  We don’t need The Social Network movie that took the number one spot for two weeks in a row, to remind us of how powerful the Internet has become. 

Just recently, Jessica Bennett, wrote an amazing article for Newsweek – “What The Internet Knows About You.”  If you haven’t read it, now would be a good time, and remember to pass it on to your friends and family.

With each passing day your privacy is becoming slimmer and slimmer.  When it comes to your safety and the safety of your family, you need to take precautions to insure your cybersafety and your virtual resume. What is your Faceboook insurance?

With this information, as the holidays are approaching and many teens will be looking for seasonal help, they may want to take a double-take at their Facebook page.  If you are an adult looking for a job, needless to say, it can’t hurt to re-evaluate what you are posting online.

What may seem humorous to you and your friends, could be offensive to others.  Privacy is a gift, and how much you want to give is up to you.  However give with caution!

Learn more about ways to protect your privacy and protect yourself from identity theft.

Don’t learn the lesson the hard way, “Google Bomb! The Untold Story of the $11.3M Verdict That Changed the Way We Use the Internet,” a story everyone needs to read.

Read more.

Sue Scheff: Think before you hit send – Nasty-grams are not nice to send or receive

It is more likely than not that you have typed an email filled with anger and hit send before thinking about the consequences.  It is even likely you have received an email that hurt your feelings and was simply ugly.

Emails fly through the day and through the night.  Once you hit send, it could be the end of a friendship, job, relationship, or even marriage.  Have you reviewed your email and thought about who will be seeing it?  Who will be reading it?  Or if it ends up as an exhibit in a court of law, will it come back to haunt you?

We can learn to maintain our stress level through breathing exercises or even counting to a hundred.  It would benefit you if you are angry, upset, or have to deliver not so good news, to think twice before hitting send.  Put that email in your drafts, think on it for twenty-four hours.

Like with bullying, these emails can have lasting emotional affects on the person receiving it.  Is that your intent?  If so, you truly need to step back from the keypad or mouse and re-evaluate this situation.

Teens and kids don’t always think before they hit send.  Take the time to teach your children about the liabilities of sending “nasty-grams“.  What you post or send today, may come back to haunt you tomorrow. 

Think twice before you launch that email!

Read more on Examiner.