Online Branding Using Social Media Can Be Risky For Your Kids


Online Branding, using social media,  is now a necessary part of building a successful online and off line  business.   It’s a necessary step in getting folks to know you, trust you and buy from you.

“Branding is all about signaling a power-packed and consistent message to your target audience.”  Melanie Keissell

As Melanie suggests, building a strong personal brand includes: reputation, trust, attention and action.

Internet Branding Hits Home

Yesterday, I pick up my teenage grandson from a friend’s house and gave him a lift home.  I ask him what fun things he had done over week-end.

“Oh the usual, we played a few video games,  fooled around on Facebook, took the four-wheelers out and drove around.”

He’s a typical technology driven teen, which includes an ipod mic in his ear, fingers that fly across his cell phone keypad, and visiting with friends on Facebook.

And, whether he’s aware of it or not… he… like me… is building an “Online Brand” by using social media.

Having easy access to a cell phone and a computer is awesome but along with this compelling technology comes responsibility… no matter who you are or your age.

Feathers On The Wind

How he builds his “Personal Brand” now, will impact his life later.   How he draws attention to himself now, shapes his reputation and creates or reduces trust.  His “Online Branding” will either strengthen or limit his future opportunities and actions.

Once posted on the Internet, either by computer or phone… photos and words are like feathers scattered on the wind from a broken pillow.  You simply cannot get them back!

It’s important for teens to realize that a poor “Personal Internet Brand” can prevent them from attending a particular school, becoming elected to an office, being recruited into the armed services… or a sport.  It may decrease or the eliminate the chances of getting a desired job.

I read that over 50% of all employers are now looking at Facebook and other social media formats, reviewing prospective employees, before deciding on who to hire.  That statistic will only increase.  Old, as well as current posts and photos may be the deciding factor whether one is hired or not.

I recently read about a young lady…  who was fired on her first day… before she even reached the parking lot.  She “Tweeted” a negative comment about her new employer on her way to work.   Word travels fast and is permanent.

Law enforcement is also using social media to track suspected criminals, viewing their habits, and locations.   Forget privacy laws…. there is no such thing when it comes to social media.

How Will I Advise My Grand Son And My Other Grands About “Online Branding?”

1. Never, never, post inappropriate photos of yourself, loved ones, or friends online by way of phone, or computer.   (Trusting a “friend” not to pass along a phone photo is like asking snow not to melt.)

2. Never post photos of any kind that the subject of the photo is not aware of.  You may open yourself up to a law-suit if you do… even in the future.

3. Never make negative or humiliating comments about friends, family, coworkers and  employers.  (For some reason, unfavorable talk always comes back to bite you in the fanny.)

4. Don’t post videos of fights or unbecoming behavior on YouTube.  In fact… don’t participate in fights or unbecoming behavior… you never know who may be filming you.  (Good reason to say away from risky parties )

5. Be selective about the friends you accept or invite.  It’s alright not to accept every invitation you receive.  (Every Tom, Dick and Harry will not always have your best interest in mind.  Don’t be afraid to “unfollow” someone who does not have the same values you do.)

6. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”  And if that doesn’t work…  Don’t post words or photos that you don’t want your dad and mom or your nana to see. lol

7. Bottom line! Remember… the minute you get on the web or on you phone… you are building a “Internet Brand” that will live long into your future.  (Your “professional future” will come quicker than you think.)

“What Advice Would I Give My Kids With Respect To Teaching About “Internet Branding.”

1. Be smart… not every technology out there needs to be provide for your kids.  Use good judgement.  It’s okay to say “No.”  (Don’t be intimidated by whining, rolling eyes, sighs, guilt trips or the like.  As a kid… I tried that kind of intimidation and so did you.  Sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn’t.)  This is the time to stand firm.

2. Talk with the kids and let them know what is appropriate and what you expect.

3. Put “Privacy Settings” in place… but don’t count on them.  You are the best “Privacy Setting.”

4. Monitor their phones and computer use. You’re a parent first and then a friend.  (Refer to number one.)

5. Above all… remind them that they are building an “Online Brand” that will extend way into the future.

6. You’ll have to repeat the above frequently…. because nearly every child thinks they are an exception to the rule… invincible… and will never get old and “out of touch.”   (Remember?)

7.  Bottom Line! I know you’re aware of all this… but… all of our voices are better than one.  Besides…”I’m your mom!”  lol

And… as a Internet marketer… a mom and nana…  all this advice applies to me too.  Never to old to take advice… especially my own.

Online Marketing and Promotion!

Til Later,

Kathryn Griffiths

P.S.  Did I miss anything?  If you have additional “Internet Branding” advice… leave comments.  We need to support each other in this area!

Categories : Promotion


  1. Wow-Wee, Kathy! Thanks so much for the mention here. This was a totally unexpected and wonderful surprise. 🙂

    No, you haven’t missed a trick. And as a mom of teens, I appreciate every word of caution and wisdom you’ve shared. I’m currently extremely upset at one of my daughters who has pictures of herself on social media sites – in a very revealing swimsuit! I’ve tried and tried and tried to tell her “WHY” that’s not a good idea. Both my youngest girls have photos posted on the world wide web that don’t exactly portray who they really are at heart.

    The usual response is, “Oh, mom, you worry too much. Everybody does it and it’s no big deal.” And my response is …

    If everybody else is going to jump off the bridge, are you going to jump off, too?!!

    Young children, pre-teens, and teens just don’t have the capacity to see the “bigger picture”. They live in the here and now and nothing else seems to matter.

    All the way through your post, you have done a tremendous job of explaining what branding is all about as well as a doggone good list of do’s and don’t’s!

    I’m honored to be on this page. 🙂

  2. Kathryn says:

    Thanks for your wonderful post that I could draw from. As soon as my grandson mentioned Facebook… I thought of your post and came home and re-read your information.

    Sometimes I wish I could lock my grands in a box until they get a little bit more common sense. However, all we can do is be vigilant in our warning and hope for the best.

  3. Kathy, this is one of the best posts EVER for how to use the internet and social media in particular. Young people especially are not in a position to really understand the ramifications of having something permanently following them around on the internet. This is a powerful post I wish all parents could read!

  4. Kathryn says:

    Thanks Martha… Youth have to be much more careful than we did…. because a push of a button can change everything so quickly. No time to stop and think and take it back if they want to. Parents really have to stay on their toes.

  5. Melanies post is one of the best posts on branding I have ever read. It is on my list of must reads.

    Kathy, this post is added to my list.

    Having firm policy for your family is a must. Lets say that your goal is to have happy productive children and your purpose is to create a sane and planet that promotes creativity and freedom; then you better have the firm policy in place that makes this happen. And the plan to make it occur.

  6. Deb Augur says:

    Hi Kathy,

    Indeed! Wonderful and much needed words of advice, not only to our young, but to adults that are clueless, too! The only thing I would add is to not retaliate when you’re the brunt of someone’s anger or cruelty, and to report and block whoever is causing serious problems.

    Great post!