July 6, 2021

Selling your Children's Information Online

By Trip Elix guest blogger

Whether you like it or not, social media is part of the fabric of our lives. Universities and major corporations will use social platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and others to research your child. What they don't expect is that you understand this, and can plan ahead of time. Think of them more like a sales portfolio, selling your child's background and prior interests. Companies and colleges are using social media and searching for profiles of your children. With this in mind, think of social media accounts as a sales portfolio, and you should groom the account as such. There is an advantage to having multiple emails and social media accounts as well. Just make sure the one associated with the profile you want to build is registered to

a smartphone and a computer. Get a separate cheap used smartphone for this. Register the device to them only using wifi; it doesn't need a cellular chip. Add the social media accounts to the device for the profile that you want to create.  Social media uses the GPS in phones to track individuals that is why it is important to have a separate device. 

The one that your child will really use should not have their real name; never allow them to use the same computer that the other profile is accessed from. You should start this process when your child is at least 14 years of age. 

Your child will stand apart since most other children will have an abundance of images that they will need to remove. You should take the time and help your child craft exactly what you want the companies and colleges to find. Imagine the advantage of having pictures of school events, awards, and extracurricular activities neatly displayed for anyone to appreciate. The reason for starting at 14 is it will have enough information and posts by the time they are 18 to make it look completely legitimate; after all, it is real.

Embellishment is completely optional. Building a flowing social profile on the networks takes time; each photograph or post has a corresponding time and date stamp. While no one will know or could possibly go back and check events’ dates in the past, someone looking at the profile may notice if all of the images were uploaded the same day. Thus, it is important to create posts and images over an extended period of time. You might want to create a calendar event to remind yourself to produce a posting at least every two weeks for a child under 16, and once a week until they graduate from college. Future employers will also look at the same profile, at the same information, all displaying a childhood filled with personal achievement.

The social profiles you create will be the sales tool for your child’s future. Think of it as your child’s digital portfolio. You should keep it completely private and change the account settings to the public one around the time your child is in 11th grade or just before they start looking at colleges. When people look on the internet for profiles, often they stop looking when they believe that they have found the correct one, the one you created and seeded for them.

Trip Elix is a podcast host and the author of Protecting Kids Online!