Reputation Management Webinar Recap: Start Creating Smart Online Habits

By | September 26th, 2013|Uncategorized|

Yesterday, we hosted this quarter’s cyberSAFE webinar with a focus on reputation management, featuring a panel of industry experts who explored the how online activities can sometimes lead to unwanted consequences, such as reputation damage, identity theft and unemployment. We also published a whitepaper based on this very topic with new insight from HR and legal experts, and put together an extensive infographic detailing how consumers can take control of their online reputation. You’re welcome to download a recording of the webinar and check out additional materials on reputation management on our website.

Here’s a quick recap of yesterday’s discussion:

Panelist Parry Aftab, U.S. lawyer, child advocate and notable expert in cyber law, kicked off the discussion by sharing a variety of ways people tend to share personal information online and what types of information can be dangerous to share online. Throughout the webinar, Parry detailed ways online activities, such as profile hijacks or children posting about parents, can affect one’s personal and professional reputation. She recommended frequently checking privacy settings on social media sites before posting online, practicing safe password habits and erring on the side of caution when posting personal information online. In addition to having a good social media policy at the workplace, Parry recommended having good technologies to back up work policy.

Neil Richards, a law professor at Washington University in St. Louis, MI, shared the legal perspective of online reputation, noting that there are still a lot of gray areas when it comes to defining the legalities of what an employer has the right to manage and monitor. He frequently tells his law students to come up with a personal social media policy for themselves to help define the appropriate site for personal or professional posts. Neil stated that it’s a worthwhile investment for people to be mindful about how they present themselves online as lawmakers and corporations continue to evolve digital rules and regulations. He also recommended that businesses have and enforce a clear social media policy.

Jessica Miller-Merrell, HR expert and founder of Blogging4Jobs, shared her experience and research from the human resources viewpoint. Like Neil, Jessica recommended that people take control of their own personal brand. With 91 percent of employers using social networks for recruiting, Jessica suggested a variety of online tools to help keep a clean reputation online to impress current and future employers including: DeleteMe, MaskMe and GoogleVoice. She advised businesses to create a social media policy that outlines expectations for employees’ social media activities at the workplace and outside of the workplace, and defines what types of company-specific information can and cannot be shared online.

Our very own Bryan Hjelm, CSID’s VP of Product and Marketing, moderated the webinar and contributed some security tips regarding reputation management. He touched on how cyber criminals mine information from social media sites and use that information to create an identity theft or phishing scheme. Additionally, he shared how many users’ online habits contribute to a higher chance of fraud, such as uploading family photos and using GPS-based technologies. Bryan identified that there is an opportunity for businesses to offer social media monitoring and data suppression services to help consumers manage their online reputations.

The reputation management conversation continued on Twitter, where participants asked questions and shared their best practices for creating a positive:



Thanks again to our panelists and attendees for participating. Head to to download a recording of the webinar, as well as a copy of our accompanying whitepaper and infographic, and keep an eye on out for upcoming cyberSAFE webinars. We’ll see you at the next one!

Kids as Young as Two Have an Online History

By | February 27th, 2013|Uncategorized|

digital_footprintThis guest blog post comes from Russ Warner, CEO of ContentWatch – makers of parental control software, Net Nanny.

Remember when you brought your first date home? My siblings delighted in showing her embarrassing photos of me. Well, there isn’t much reason to pull out the ole photo album anymore. Most people can “friend” you or your family members online and or just find your public profile to see many pics or details you may have wanted to keep private.

This trend now affects everyone. In fact, one recent study said 92 percent of kids under the age of 2 already have a digital footprint. Kids that age are too young to post online by themselves of course, it’s their parents and/or siblings that have created their digital profile.

It starts with the ultrasound pic announcing pregnancy. Then you read live Tweets during birth, divulging the exact date and time of the baby’s birth. Once online, information cannot be easily removed.

As a child grows, the excited parents’ online friends will see updates about potty-training and funny first words. This happens years before baby even knows about social media sites.

What happens when the child becomes a teen and signs up for Facebook? Will his mom “tag” him in his ultrasound picture?

This is trend of openly sharing our lives online is new ground. Social media has only really been around for a few years. Today’s thirteen year-olds wouldn’t have had their ultrasound pics posted on Facebook, Tumblr or Instagram. But parents now upload personal information all the time.

There are many types of professionals who make a living finding and using your personal information. They range from identity thieves, hackers, private detectives, bounty hunters, and even skiptracers.

What’s a skiptracer? One of our Net Nanny Community fans, Carolynn Y, is a skiptracer. Her job is to find personal information, for any number of purposes. A skiptracer is similar to a private investigator.

Carolyn said: “I find people for a living; I find most people through their children who post their cell phone numbers on their open access Facebook pages. In fact, when I am trying to find someone, I go to Facebook and look for a person’s “young” relatives. They almost always have their privacy settings loose and they either post their number on their wall (especially when they get new ones) OR they post their numbers on their best friend’s posts. I find them there too.”

So what’s a proud parent to do? Should you share every detail about your kids online? Maybe. But you have to be very careful about what and with whom you share.

Two suggestions:

1) Invite trusted family and friends to a private blog, on the condition they never repost or share the details you share.

2) If you really need to post something on Facebook, post it to a select group of friends, not your entire friend list. Don’t make your profile public.

Based on what’s done today, this might sound paranoid. But, I believe it’s a sound practice.

These safety measures aren’t foolproof, of course. One unscrupulous friend can post or tag you in an embarrassing photo anytime. But it’s better than going down the path we are all on.

To read a related, somewhat frightening story (mostly fictional) that I shared previously, see the following article: Your Online Privacy (Or Lack Thereof). This discusses what might happen in the future when companies recruit new employees or insurance companies research customers. With thousands of details available online, a potential employee or customer can’t hide the facts about their life.

I work for Net Nanny and the opinions expressed here are my own.

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