OK, I know all the parents out there are worried their kids are tweeting and texting about sex, drugs and rock n roll. But are any of you worried about what they’re saying about you?
You tell kids stuff about your crummy job, or they overhear you bitching, and there’s a good chance they may end up telling their friends. But they don’t just tell their friends on the muddy playground anymore folks, they tell their friends on the social media playground — Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter.
Yes, if you’re mad and complaining about your boss or job, there’s a chance your kids are listening. And if your kids are upset enough at what you’re upset about they may actually Facebook or tweet something about it.
This is a tweet that popped up on my TweetDeck screen yesterday:
My dad’s fcking boss didnt pay my dad for his hard work! Fuck u!! Karma will be on his way!
Whoa, that’s some serious stuff. And it was seen by me, a columnist for a national website that gets millions of hits everyday.
I won’t include her name in order to protect the innocent, and her dad’s job. But it’s a great example of how social media can end up screwing you.
I’m sure this kid didn’t even think about how her tweet would impact her dad. She was mad, and I don’t blame her. How the heck does a kid reconcile that the dad she looks up to, busts his ass but doesn’t get paid. Screw the employer!
That said, her dad may still need his job to pay for her Internet connection so she can tweet stuff she shouldn’t be tweeting.
A while back the owner of ReputationDefender.com, Michael Fertick, who helps protect individual’s reputations online, told me he was surprised to find a new source for the bad stuff — his customers’ own kids.
Some tweens, teens and even 20 somethings, he said, are writing about private family matters on social networking sites, and also sharing their pain on blogs. And they’re naming names.
“We’ve seen discussions by kids of parents’ incomes,” he says. For example, ‘Dad makes $75,000 per year’. They also write about their parents’ relationships, “‘Mom and Dad are fighting pretty hard tonight’, of career news ‘Mom didn’t get the promotion she wanted’; and even social habits or qualities, ‘Dad is such a d–k,’ or ‘Dad is a friggin’ alcoholic.’”
OK, time to sit down with the kids and tell them the media is watching her and his tweets, Facebook updates and blog posts. That’s not a bad thing. But maybe they should pass a few things by you if they decide to mention you in their rants.
Let them know it’s okay to speak out, but make sure you sort of know what they are speaking out about when it involves you and your job. And why the hell are we letting our kids hear our work complaining? They don’t get what we’re talking about, and as a result, they’re probably starting to hate the work world before they’ve even become part of it.