Sue Scheff: Think Before You Post – Teen Expelled for FB Post

Just months away from graduation, 17 year-old Tennessee student, Taylor Cummings, was recently expelled from his high school.  Why? 

After weeks of butting heads with his coaches, Taylor, 17, logged on to the popular social networking site from home Jan. 3. He typed his frustrations for the online world to see: “I’ma kill em all. I’ma bust this (expletive) up from the inside like nobody’s ever done before.USA Today

A few nasty keystrokes and a click of the mouse and your life can be turned upside down!  Whether you are a student, business owner, parent, or anyone that uses social networking, remember, what goes online – stays online. 

Google Bomb, The Untold Story of the $11.3M Verdict That Changed the Way We Use the Internet,  is an example of an adult being held accountable.  Free speech does not condone defamation. 

In many schools now there is a zero tolerance for these types of threats.  We have had many sad endings with cyber threats, cyber suicides, cyberbullying, cyber stalking and other various ways that kids are hurting each other via keystrokes.

Taylor Cummings had a public profile on Facebook without any restrictions on who could see it.  This in itself should be a wake-up call to many.  Take the time to secure your privacy settings.  Think twice before allowing your profile to be public. 

Parents should take the time to review their children’s social networking sites.  Especially those that have teens that will be applying to colleges.  More and more colleges are using search engines to research their applicants.  What is Google saying about you?

Take the time to maintain your online image and learn to stop, think and consider what you are about to post or send.  Will it be considered threatening?  Will it be considered defamatory? Is it targeted to hurt someone?  Take the time to educate your children and teens about “what they post today, may haunt them tomorrow…”

Be an educated parent – you will have safer teens.

Read more on Examiner.