When I Googled my child's name, all sorts of links appeared-including a church program listing her as a member of the choir. How can I get all these links offline?
Appropriate netiquette and safety awareness generally requires parental permission to publish the name of a child in print. Many parents, however, will find that that permission unintentionally ends up overflowing to the Internet.
For instance, while you may have given permission for your child's name to be printed in the church bulletin, you may not have known that bulletin was published as a searchable document on the Internet.
Can you get the online content off? It may be hard to delete all the links to your child's name, but you can start by deleting accounts and online subscriptions your child does not use. While the mere mention of your child's name may not be cause for alarm, other identifying information that provides data on your child's home address or daily schedule might be considered a security issue.
Try putting your child's name into several different search engines-Google, Yahoo, Bing and Ask. Identify each listing and decide whether the information is identifying.
To remove articles, programs or announcements that list your child's full name, you'll need to contact each organization that is posting particular content and ask that the information be removed. For tags on photos or comments connected to a friend's public site, your daughter will need to contact the friend and ask that the items be removed.
Even if you can delete most content and turn off the search functions on social networks, keeping your child's identity offline will be a constant challenge and one that she will soon need to be responsible for herself. Sit down with your child, show her the results and talk about the importance of privacy.
Sharon Cindrich is a mother of two tech-savvy kids from Virginia Beach. Learn more at sharoncindrich.com.
See more of Sharon's stories here.