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Discussion Topic #2: Putting your online rep to work for you

No matter your age, it’s always important to prepare for your future.  That doesn’t necessarily mean sketching out a detailed plan, plotting a detailed path from high school to a particular college or university to the perfect job, etc.  That’s a lot to ask from anyone.  Some of us know exactly where we want to go and exactly how to get there. Others may want to keep their options open.

Whether you have planned your path or are trying to decide what to do, there’s one thing you definitely don’t want to do; anything that will limit your choices or close doors.  Put another way, while weighing your options, don’t do anything that might limit them.
Your online identity is a reflection of how people see you. And let’s face it: some of the personal content that people post on the Internet isn’t always flattering. Some people (including employers, teachers, neighbours and parents) search online to check people out.

Now, that’s not necessarily a good practice for a company to follow.  The information they find may be out of date or easily taken out of context.  But you can’t control a company’s screening methods.  You can however, control what you post, and what you post can either help or hinder you in making a good impression.

If you carefully think about what you post, you have the power to ensure that people who decide to check you out online will only see what you want them to see.

That’s what privacy is, in a nutshell. It’s about being in the driver’s seat and preserving your ability to control your own personal information.

The next discussion topics cover specific issues that will provide you with the tools and information to make your own decisions. The topics include: privacy and the Internet; knowing who your friends are; sexting; geo-location; online impersonation; online snooping; and mobile devices.

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