Saturday, November 01, 2014

Does Your Child Need A LinkedIn Profile?

I was recently talking with my wife about the topics that is easily among the top five we have discussed in our relationship, "children and how best to prepare them for life." In this discussion she told me about an initiative she heard Philadelphia is piloting to keep track of (high) school children's academic and community service activities from grades to awards to projects to extracurriculars. As she spoke, I replied, "sounds like LinkedIn for kids". Then I wondered, is LinkedIn for kids?! Yikes! No! Yes. I think maybe it is.
Leaving the debate of at what age a child should be exposed to LinkedIn aside, it seems to me that LinkedIn could be a nice substitute for those boxes of school, sports and activities memorabilia in the attic and basement, and a more orderly and presentable one at that. A child's LinkedIn profile would:

1. ease preparation and representation for life's various admissions gauntlets from private schools at various levels to scholarship programs to community service organizations to college to career.
2. remind us of what we, as a family, have invested in, and can be proud of, as we too often forget under the stress of life,
3. remind our children of their accomplishments over time inspiring their self confidence.

On the flip side, I fully expect the sentiment that this suggestion puts our children's privacy at risk, is inappropriate blatant exhibitionism and that LinkedIn is too advanced for children. I'd say all these arguments have merit for consideration.

In response to privacy and exhibitionism concerns, I'd advise keeping the profile private so that it's an orderly repository for you and your child until an appropriate time for future publication. In the meantime you don't lose those resume items to poor memory, and your child begins to get an education in how to use LinkedIn as a storytelling platform for their careers.

As to the "too advance" point, I'd say you do it for your child without exposing them if they'd are too young the same way you store away savings for their future when they are too young. The fact is that the experiences we afford our children are an experiential savings asset which they spend later to gain life's opportunities, so LinkedIn becomes an experience bank of sorts. 

In any case, I thought this an interesting idea, and wonder if it's not a new business opportunity for LinkedIn as parents tend to more readily part with money for their children's welfare than for their own. For many I know, their kid's LinkedIn will look better than theirs. :-)

I'm very much interested in your thoughts as to additional benefits and caveats regarding this approach.
Here are other reads I found on this topic: