What You Post Can Have Serious Consequences

Posting online is like a boomerang; it always comes back to you. As the digital age consumes our generation, more teens are starting to see its effects. From embarrassing videos from childhood to old Tweets stating their uneducated opinion, it all resurfaces. 

We have grown up surrounded by technology. As new trends emerged we all jumped on them. Whether it was Instagram, Music.ly, Twitter, or Snapchat we had to be on them all. Figuring out what was appropriate to post and what was not wasn’t automatic, it took time and maturing. At one point posting selfies with Snapchat filters on your main story was socially acceptable and now it is not. As time passes we see this often, things that used to be normal are now the complete opposite.

As light-hearted as posting on social media for your friends and family to see seems, the potential consequences are endless if you post irresponsibly. Once you post something out on social media there is no taking it back, it’s out forever. Although you can delete a post to remove it from your profile anyone who sees your posts can screenshot them and repost them. There also are certain websites that automatically save and archive social media posts. Even if you delete the post from your profile, the post can still be accessible via Google search. There is another thing that keeps everything you post on social media alive, you can never delete someone’s memory. 

Right now, you may not care about what you post on social media. Your followers are all your friends, anyway right? However, down the road when you apply to college or to a job you will care. Yes, that Tik Tok of you and your friends dancing and lip-synching to an explicit song may have been your most-liked Tik Tok. You love that photo of you half-naked in the mirror. And in your opinion, that photo of you holding an alcohol can or a vape makes you look really cool and mature for your age. But it is critical that you realize that everything you post, every picture, every caption, every 30-second video on Tik Tok can have consequences.

Of course, certain types of posts can have more consequences than others. That half-naked mirror selfie that is oversexualized may violate federal and state child pornography laws. Child pornography laws should be in the back of your mind with every post you make and every picture you send. Unfortunately, studies have shown that 19% of teens regret posting, sharing, or communicating online. If you were to post a suggestive image of yourself, you as a minor can face up to a $10,000 fine and up to four years in prison. There is no leeway with child pornography laws, you post it or send it even if it’s a picture of yourself just to your friends yo u will face the consequences. 

Racist content is another area of concern. It is one thing to be uneducated on your own but completely other to let the world know by posting it on social media. Former Miss Michigan, Kathy Zhu, knows this all too well. Zhu got her title taken away because of things that she was posting that were deemed racist by the public and Proctor Productions, the judges of the pageants. I have no sympathy for Zhu, you say racist things you will get consequences. But if she just thought through her posts and did not feel the need to show the world her bigotry, she would still have her title. 

To protect yourself and others from regret and even legal issues when posting remember to think through your posts. Make sure your posts are in tip-top shape before releasing them into cyberspace. If I would not want my grandma or my priest to see it, I’m not gonna post it.

This article appeared in the February edition of The East Vision.