July 28, 2011 — -- Yes. You read that right. A social media background check is now possible thanks to a recent ruling by the Federal Trade Commission. That ought to provide us parents with further reinforcement that it's incredibly important to teach our children how to "safely and responsibly network online."
The FTC ruling authorizes companies to provide reports on an individual's online actions by reviewing up to seven years worth of publicly available records. These records include everything from what your child might say and post on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, to Craigslist ads and personal blog posts.
Sure, companies could take a peek at someone's online actions before this ruling, but they were mostly limited to what they found on Google or searched on Facebook or MySpace. This ruling gives organizations information on you (or your child) from seven years back. So whatever your now-15-year-old child is posting online could affect what college they get into or what job they get, which is all the more reason for you to be involved in what and where they post online.