In the movie The Social Network, Eduardo Saverin famously tells Mark Zuckerberg- “The Internet's not written in pencil, Mark, it's written in ink.” Most of us don’t think twice before posting pictures out with friends, a tweet or a status update, but once it’s out in cyberspace, you may never be able to take it down. Employers, university admissions, future boyfriends/spouses may all be able to access it; even with privacy settings, there is every guarantee that someone on your friends list has access to (and the power to publicly share) potentially incriminating evidence- costing you your safety, reputation and future. Here are 5 things you should NEVER post on a social network:
1. Illegal activities
So you tried a new substance with friends or drank underage and want to share your trip with your Facebook friends. Don't. Getting caught could get you in serious trouble, not only with parents, but the law.
2. Confidential Information
It’s kind of a no-brainer, but posting, say, your ID card, landline number, or location online does make you a vulnerable target for identity thieves and stalkers.
3. Hate messages and Cyber bullying
Cybercrimes are taken pretty seriously even in India, and investigators do check social media to track criminals. If posting threats or hateful or discriminatory messages about gender, race, caste, religion online is your way of exercising your freedom of speech, you need to be willing to face the music. Just ask the girls who were arrested for their message about Bal Thackrey. Or Nick Aguirre who was arrested for commenting in jest on a frenemy, Katie’s status, about starting a “Kill Katie Klub”. It’s all over his permanent record.
4. Criticizing your school/organization or ignoring its policies
The Mahim branch of my school, Bombay Scottish faced a scandal in the Orkut era, when around 60 students posted hate messages about the principal and teachers online. They got into trouble with the Cyber Crime cell. The principal was kind enough to let the incident slide but the students could have got into SERIOUS trouble with the police and also faced expulsion. Criticizing your educators or employers could well get you kicked out- and jeapordize your chances of future education/employment.
Moreover, some organizations and institutions believe the students activities reflect on them and therefore, should not be out of line with their policies. For instance, posting your opinions on sensitive subjects, or photos of you at a protest or lobbying for a cause that institution actively does not support. Make sure you review the policies for acceptable behaviour on your part.
So. Your boyfriend dumped you, your friends are fake, your family is insensitive.
It may seem like the least of the evils, but before you decide to post yet another rant, however cathartic, it would be wise to ask yourself what it would accomplish. The sympathy of friends and followers will wear thin pretty quickly, so instead of plaguing everyone with your troubles (as though they haven’t any of their own) you might want to consider dealing with your problems constructively. Do you really want to reinforce all that negativity?
Talk to a plant, your cat or a real person, for a change.
Article by: Sharanya Haridas
Pic Sources: cheezburger.com, nyteachers.files.wordpress.com, http://www.teenidols4you.com, meghanmagnolia.tumblr.com
What content do you think young people shouldn’t post on social media? Let us know in the comments below!