If the very thought of your high school student interacting on a social media network send chills up your spine, you’re not alone. Many parents fear unleashing their children into the virtual world, and for good reason. Stories of cyberbullying, online predators, and sexting abound, so it’s easy to simply take a no tolerance approach to online communication. The world is changing, though, and while it may not be pleasant to think about, your child will one day become dependent on the Internet to survive and thrive in the professional world, just as many of us adults have already. Isn’t it better to teach your child how to use social networks appropriately now rather than have him experiment on his own later?
### The Advantages of LinkedIn
While Facebook and Twitter may be your child’s idea of a good starting point for social networking, LinkedIn may be the better choice. Why? Because LinkedIn has a reputation for being the “professional” social media platform. Many employers use the site for hiring purposes while others use it as a dynamic job-seeking board as well as a way to network with other, like-minded professionals in their field or industry. By introducing your child to LinkedIn, you can demonstrate how social media platforms can be used in the workforce, not just as a way to share personal status updates and pictures as people often do on Facebook and other similar platforms. In fact, since more and more employers are requesting LinkedIn profiles in lieu of a traditional resume, it’s important that your high school student learn the ropes now, so that she’ll be ready when it’s time to go on the job hunt.
### Getting Started With Linked
In Although LinkedIn’s policy requires students to be at least eighteen years old to join, that doesn’t stop you from showing your child how to use the social media network. If you have an account already established, then use your own profile, connections, and discussion groups to show your child how LinkedIn works. If you don’t have an account, create one, and learn to use the platform together! Use the Learning Center on LinkedIn to introduce your high school student to the numerous ways the network can help one form professional relationships, research companies and industries, and build a virtual resume for launching a career.
### Safety Precautions
Although LinkedIn makes it clear to users that the platform is a professional one, not a place to share personal comments or photos, the site—like any other site on the web—still has the potential to be misused. As you introduce your child to LinkedIn, take the same safety precautions you normally would when presenting anything online. That is, discuss appropriate use with your child and encourage him to come to you if he has questions or concerns about anything or anyone he comes in contact with on the Web. If your child is under the age of eighteen, keep your log-in information private so that she doesn’t have access to your account when you’re not around.
Despite your best efforts to keep your child safe and show him how to use the Internet and social media platforms correctly and for professional gain, there is always the potential for bad things to happen on the Web. For optimal security, consider installing a parental control app on your child’s computer, so that you can monitor her online activities anytime, anywhere. Ensure that your high school student remains protected as he learns to navigate social media platforms like LinkedIn by trying our free online monitoring app at www.qustodio.com.