On Aug. 19, 2013, LinkedIn introduced University Pages. The site has partnered with about 200 colleges and universities to create pages for the schools that allow members to discover the latest news and goings-on, and connect with students, faculty and alumni.
Those pages are part of LinkedIn’s plan to bring in younger users who are thinking about their education and future career. Starting Sept. 12, 2013, users as young as 14 years old in the United States will be able to have a LinkedIn account and profile. The former minimum age had been 18.
Students will be able to share things like their courses, activities, jobs, internships, honors, projects, awards, volunteer efforts and test scores. They can also connect with prospective colleges to find the best fit for a future school. Having a LinkedIn profile could also connect them with members, businesses and organizations that offer internships for students.
LinkedIn can also help career-minded students learn more about what they want in a career. They can see where graduates in their chosen major started, and where they ended up.
As with any networking site, users under 18 should be aware of privacy and protecting themselves online. LinkedIn will update its Terms of Service for teen users that will prevent their LinkedIn profiles from appearing on search engines like Google and Bing. Their profile photos will only be visible to their first-degree connections. The default for their profile will be a first name, last initial, and region, rather than the full name and city as in adults’ profiles.
Teens will, however, have the option of changing some of these settings. Parents should discuss how to manage their profile to best protect their privacy while taking advantage of what LinkedIn can offer.
LinkedIn’s Safety Page has information for students and their parents. There are tips for teens on how to create their profile, and how they can best promote themselves to connections, colleges and potential employers. There is also information on privacy and scams such as phishing and malware.