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Don't be Your Own Worst Enemy

Social media is a wondrous thing. It can also be your worst nightmare of your own design! People always seem to remind children to be careful of what they do and say online. With good reason. However, everyone needs to be aware of how they act online.

“Once it’s there, it’s there to stay!” is the mantra of people trying to prevent others from posting something that they will regret later. There are ample examples to show just how doing something online can come back to bite someone on the rear later. Here are just a few examples:

Adam Smith is now living on food stamps. That is very different from when he was a CFO for a successful medical device company in Arizona. He made a video that went viral about a popular fast food restaurant. Within hours of posting the video, he was fired from his job. Afterwards, he found a new job, only to lose it once the company found out about his past.

Justine Sacco had a history of making inappropriate tweets. She lost her job as a result and ruined her own life.

Many people know that Jon Stewart has announced that he will step down from The Daily Show. Trevor Noah has been announced as his replacement. However, once it was announced, people do what people do…. They searched online to learn more about him. As a result, there is evidence of dark humor at best, racism and homophobic statements at worst. Time will tell if this prevents him from getting the job to replace Stewart.

Now, you may be thinking that this only happens to “grownups” and famous people. That’s not true, as I will show.

Earlier this year, a teenager known only as Cella, tweeted that she was about to start a new job at a pizzeria. In the tweet, she expressed her true feelings about how much she hated the idea of working there. Someone showed the owner her tweet and he fired her, via Twitter, but replying to her tweet.

Back in 2010, seventeen year old Paris Brown was hired by the London Police Department to act as a kind of teacher for the police about the teenage lifestyle. However, after the young woman made multiple tweets about her own use of drugs and alcohol and her sex life, along with using racist and homophobic slurs, she was promptly fired from her job.

It goes even farther than that. Kaplan Test Prep reports that over a third of college admissions officers do background checks of student applicants’ social media accounts. Everyone, but especially kids, need to understand the potential ramifications of what gets posted online.

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