A recent article in the Guardian detailed how ‘reputation managers' are cleaning up and shaping a person's online history in order to bury damaging details and promote the good ones.
It claimed that celebrities such as model Kate Moss are already rumoured to be using online brand reputation management to ensure Google searchers come to positive stories about them first.
John Colley, managing director of (ISC)2 EMEA, said that this also affects working adults who are concerned about their future job prospects, and those of their children. He said: “It really is incredible to consider that in addition to swimming lessons and pocket money parents are also paying a monthly fee to clean up their children's online footprint.
“We must realise that it is the young people that continue to use the internet in new ways and take risks in a world where their parents and teachers are ill-equipped to guide them. What happened to the old adage ‘An apple a day keeps the doctor away'? Surely the better long-term solution is to focus on prevention rather than clean up. Children are only just beginning to understand how to protect themselves online, while their parents are struggling to develop the right instincts.”
Colley said that for the last four years (ISC)2 has been running a programme where volunteers from businesses can visit schools, clubs and parent evenings to talk about safety and security online. In the last few months it has been focusing on increasing the amount of content related to online reputation so children fully understand the consequences that their online footprint now will have later on in their lives.
The article claimed that it is predicted that millions will employ someone to manage the traces they leave, perhaps even those who work in reputation management.
“Being aware of the consequences of our online behaviour from a young age has become as important a life skill as learning how to safely cross a road. It doesn't stop with children though. To maximise the impact of our education efforts on children, we should also provide support to those parents and teachers who need to wise up so that they can help their children to do the same,” said Colley.