Think the correspondence you engage in online is private? Think again. Technology has become a way to document and preserve inappropriate behavior and conversations.
One example of this behavior is the act of ‘sexting.’ Yes, it’s exactly what it sounds like. People sending raunchy, and often explicit images of themselves to boyfriends, girlfriends, and strangers they have met on the Internet. What are the repercussions of sexting? A few years back, an 18 year old Florida teen was put on the registered sex offenders list after sending naked pictures of his 17 year old girlfriend to her friends and family. Try finding a girlfriend, or an employer willing to take on a registered sex offender.
A less deliberate example is what many people post online. It is becoming normal procedure for employers to do a background check on future hires by racking through their online activity. Not only can your Facebook profile prevent you from getting a job, it can cause you to lose your current one. Teachers have been sacked for having pictures of them in their bathing suits, as well as for holding alcoholic beverages.
The potential people who might seek your online-self in the future is never-ending. Employers, educators, even love interests. What’s the best way to avoid deterring people? Keep up with privacy settings, and be careful what you share with whom. Be cautious of messages that contain links; you could be at risk for malware and phishing attacks. As well, if a friend posts something regarding you, whether it be a picture, or a post, don’t be afraid to let them know. Making them understand the consequences of this seemingly insignificant post should be enough for them to take it down. Let’s keep it clean folks!