Earlier this week several young women in Israel were punished for something that they had posted on Facebook. Normal, right? Happens all the time? Yes it does but this is just a little bit different. The young girls had posted risque photos of themselves in their underwear for their friends to see….the young girls also happened to be holding guns and wearing the remnants of their Israeli army uniform. The constant howls of “they should have known better” began to permeate through the Internet and the girls found themselves as the subject of mainstream media criticism.
The Young Turks did reported on this story
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In it co-host Ana Kasparian offered up a fairly intelligent suggestion:
I feel that everyone should have social media training when they’re in Grade School because we keep doing these stories where people will put anything up on their Facebook page or Twitter, and they don’t really think about the implications later.
It’s an interesting concept. Many schools do have programs that deal with Internet safety and security, often done in conjunction with the police. These courses are intended to make sure that kids don’t give their names, addresses and identifying information out to potential paedophiles. These programs are not only necessary but ensure that kids stay safe in an admittedly hostile environment.
But what about social media? When kids get to 16, 17 and 18 (or 19, 20 and all the way up to their untimely passing) they’re much more willing to post potentially embarrassing photographs or videos of themselves. Often what may seem like a good idea at the time will come back to haunt them when they try to get a job. We now appear to have an almost perfect storm of teen regret. Camera phones, social networks and a mentality of ‘share everything’ has ensured that more and more teens are falling into the trap which ends up with their naked bodies strewn all over the Internet. Some of them have laughed it off whereas others have regretted what they did and have tragically taken their own lives.
Without even referring to nude or near-nude photographs that a girl or boy may send to their partner it is important to take care when posting online. When this young girl posted a YouTube video of her rant against Asian students in the library on their phones she never thought that it would go viral. But these are things that people SHOULD think about before they post something.
I was informed by a Twitter friend that in Canada they are beginning to seriously examine the possibilities of creating a curriculum warning kids about how important it is to remember that the Internet is permanent.
Kasparian’s suggestion is not a bad one. By teaching the most basic elements of Internet etiquette and warning kids about the dangers that come with posting everything on social media hopefully we will see less episodes of young people making a stupid decision that they will come to regret for a lifetime.