It always shocks me when stories involving these young Gen Z kids and social media make national headlines.
I can half understand those about my age (over 30) mucking up on social media. We didn’t have this stuff growing up. Seriously, the coolest thing we had was AOL/AIM. (You’ve got mail!)
I remember that one of the first things they told us in school during our computer classes was that your emails could never be truly “deleted.”
Today, social media is no different.
Tough love, tough lesson learned
In recent days, six Mechanicsville, Va., Atlee junior league softball girls learned a hard lesson that affected the entire team.
They got caught posing in a Snapchat photo with vulgar hand gestures. It disqualified the girls, ages 12 to 14, from the Junior League World Series in Kirkland, Wash.
Their snap caption: “watch out host.”
In a statement, the Little League International Tournament Committee said:
“After discovering a recent inappropriate social media post involving members of Atlee Little League’s Junior League Softball tournament team, the Little League International Tournament Committee has removed the Southeast Region from the 2017 Junior League Softball World Series for violation of Little League’s policies regarding unsportsmanlike conduct, inappropriate use of social media, and the high standard that Little League International holds for all its participants.”
The world has enough bad role models, we don’t need anymore.
Parents, if you’re allowing your kids to use social media, make sure they know what they’re getting into before they have major regrets.
Your virtual footprint is never deleted
This is what social media platforms have to say about their “delete” policies:
- Facebook saves your data, deleted or not, “as long as necessary to provide products and services to you and others.” Essentially meaning, never.
- Instagram, owned by Facebook, has the same delete policy, adding “a commercially reasonable time for backup, archival, and/or audit purposes.”
- Twitter doesn’t say what happens when a tweet is deleted, but “search engines and other third parties may still retain copies of your public information, like your user profile information and public Tweets, even after you have deleted the information from the Twitter Services or deactivated your account.”
- Snapchat says that when a snap is viewed, it’s automatically deleted from servers “in most cases” and “can’t guarantee messages will be deleted within a specific time frame. Snaps can remain in backup for a limited period of time.”
Learn from others’ mistakes
Parents, don’t be afraid to bring real-life examples into conversations with your social media-savvy children.
Countless people have lost jobs over social media posts that went wrong. Show them how former InterActiveCorp PR director Justine Sacco lost her job following a racist tweet about Africa.
Explain current events to them. Who can forget Hillary Clinton’s email server debacle? Of course, her “private server” wasn’t really private.
Parents should teach children who use social media that colleges and potential employers will see what they post. Just this summer, at least 10 Harvard-bound freshman had their admissions revoked over offensive social media posts.
Is it really worth risking what you have worked so hard to achieve?
Topics to discuss with your children
Here are five points to share with your kids about social media to keep them safe and prevent unfortunate incidents, according to researcher Poco Donna Kernsmith of Wayne State University in Detroit.
- Nothing is truly “private” online and on social media, despite “privacy settings.”
- Nothing online can be taken back. Ever.
- Be on the lookout for peer pressure and coercion while online. If you wouldn’t re-share it to your parents directly, don’t do it on social media.
- Consider other people’s reactions and feelings. Put yourself in others’ shoes.
- Nothing you post is truly “anonymous.” Everything can be found using computer science such as IP addresses.
Sweet and simple, the Internet is FOR-EVER!