Fired for Facebook Posts

October is National Cyber Safety Awareness Month, however we also should take caution to what we are posting online – and this may be the reminder we need.

You posted what?!
As we live more of our lives online, social media has become the new water cooler for employees to discuss working conditions. On one hand, employers have the fear of disgruntled employees doing some serious brand damage online. On the other, they have the risk of being sued for violating federal law.

Source: Online Paralegal Programs

Everybody’s Online: At Least Almost Everybody

7 in 10
Adult Internet users who use social networking sites
The younger the worker, the more likely they use social media:
Percentage of social media use by age group
18-29 83%
30-49 77%
50-64 52%
65+ 32%
15½ hours
Average amount of time spent per month on Facebook
1 in 4
Facebook users who don’t manage their privacy settings
6 in 10
Workers who say they are unsatisfied with their jobs
What does all of this mean? That you probably use Facebook or other forms of social media, and you use it a lot. It also means you’ve probably got some things to gripe about once you get home from work. It’s not a leap to say it’s at least tempting to unload your job dissatisfaction on social media. But be careful …

What the Law Says

What about free speech, you ask? The First Amendment protects you from legal consequences of protected speech, but it doesn’t mean you are immune from all negative effects. You would probably expect to be fired—or at least reprimanded—if you insulted your boss to her face, so you should expect it if you do so online and the wrong person finds out.
But laws vary by state, as more lawmakers are recognizing and protecting the rights of employees in their off-the-clock communications. Generally speaking, an employer can intervene when:

  • An employee posts during work hours
  • An employee’s posts endanger the company (such as by revealing confidential information)

The National Labor Relations Board has ruled that employers cannot fire workers acting with other employees to initiate a group action against a perceived injustice by their employer.

It’s Happening Everywhere

Here’s just a sampling of the stories of workers who were fired for what they said in social media:
Where: London, Buckingham Palace
Who: Palace guard
Why: The 18-year-old guard slammed Kate Middleton in a Facebook post

Where: O’Hare Airport, Chicago
Who: TSA baggage screener
Why: The nine-year TSA veteran repeatedly went on racist and homophobic rants publicly on Facebook

Where: Rhode Island
Who: Physician
Why: A 48-year-old doctor at a hospital posted information about an emergency room patient

Where: Arkansas
Who: Police officer
Why: The office posted a warning to residents not to drink and drive; his supervisor said the post compromised a planned DUI checkpoint

Where: Michigan
Who: Community college professor
Why: The professor used the story of a failing student in a status update

Where: Massachusetts
Who: Firefighter/paramedic
Why: Posting negative things about gays, mentally challenged people, public officials and others who disagreed with him

Where: Grand Rapids, Michigan
Who: Several hospital employees
Why: A worker snapped a photo of a woman he thought was attractive and shared it on Facebook; he was fired and so were his coworkers who “liked” the photo

Where: Chicago
Who: Bartender
Why: Making racist comments that soon went viral

Not Fired — Not Even Hired
The other part of this equation is making sure your online persona is clean to begin with, because potential employers are watching.
3 in 4
Recruiters required to conduct online research on candidates
Recruiters who have rejected candidates based on online investigations
What employers are looking for:
65% Does the candidate present himself or herself professionally?
51% Is the candidate a good fit for company culture?
51% Want to learn more about qualifications
35% Is the candidate well-rounded
12% Reasons not to hire the candidate



Should You Be Your Teen’s Facebook Friend?

The big question…. Should you be your teen’s Facebook friend?

Kids these days, with their Facebooks and Twitters and the phones that are smart–who do they think they are? Flash Gordon? One thing’s for sure: When it comes to computers, these whippersnappers think their knowledge and expertise leave their parents in the Stone Age. So, Mr. or Ms. Cavedweller, should you be your child’s friend on Facebook? Is it your priority as a parent to protect her, or to trust her to do what she knows is right?


Facebook is a netherworld of deceit and temptation–a series of gutters, each overflowing with more filth and depravity than the last. A child has neither the life experience nor the emotional maturity to recognize or appropriately deal with an online con artist or sexual predator. He needs you as his Facebook friend, if only to keep a loving watchful eye over him as he navigates the turbulent waters of social media. He may know every line of code behind Facebook’s technology, but he does not know the darkness that lies in the heart of human sharks who use Facebook as their feeding grounds. He will friend you, and that’s that.


The tenuous bond between a parent and a teen is made of thin strands of trust. You have passed your wisdom on to her, you have led by shining example, and you have helped her to learn by her–and your–mistakes. Now is the time when you must let loose the moorings and trust her to row and steer the currents and eddies of the Sea of Facebook to find safe passage to adulthood. Leave her be, and trust that the love you two share will engender two-way trust; when she encounters trouble, she will come to you, knowing that you will assist unconditionally. Do not friend her.


Levity aside, this is not a choice that can be made for you, nor is it one that you should make on your own. Talk with your child; even if you exercise veto power, solicit his input. Don’t enter the discussion with preconceptions or a final decision.

The first thing you should ask is: Why does she use Facebook? Is she simply socializing with real-world friends? Does she collaborate on schoolwork or extra-curricular activities? Is she getting involved in causes or learning more about other cultures? These are a few of the ways in which Facebook can positively influence a teenager.

On the other hand, if you get the feeling that he uses Facebook to bolster his self-esteem by presenting himself to be someone he isn’t, or to find a group to fit in with, investigate further.

Whether her reasons for being on Facebook are positive, troubling, mixed, or unknown, you should at least work out a way in which you can get an idea of who she interacts with and what the tone of those interactions are. If you need more information on how Facebook works and how to talk to your child about it, check out the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s (NCMEC) Parent’s Guide to Facebook (PDF).

Guest contributor:  Al Natanagara is a writer, journalist, and blogger whose career includes stints with ZDNet, CNet, CBS, LexisNexis, and law enforcement. He has hundreds of Facebook friends, but all of them are blocked.

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Bad Habits Your Kids Can Pick Up from Facebook

ImageSocial networking is here to stay and it is starting younger and younger with our kids.

You had to have seen this one coming: kids are picking up bad habits from their extensive use of social media giant Facebook. This can’t come as too big of a surprise though, because it stands to reason that something so popular and fun would be bound to have some ill effects.

Not that we’re condemning Facebook, mind you, but there are a few potential pitfalls to watch out for regarding your child’s usage.

The following are seven bad habits that kids pick up from Facebook:

  1. TMI – To be honest, many of us are already guilty of grossly over-sharing our personal lives on Facebook. When you have a place to update your status 24/7, though, it shouldn’t come as any real surprise that eventually one’s entire personal life is right there for anyone and everyone to read on their profile.
  2. Inappropriate Friending – It tends to be an automatic reaction for some to “friend” someone after they’ve added you, accompanied by the friend confirmation request, whether this person is someone you know well or not. While they may not like the idea of saying ‘no’, safety should have a higher priority than popularity.
  3. Posting Inappropriate Photos – Inappropriate photographs always seem to find their way onto people’s Facebook pages. For that matter, taking such photos in the first place is ill-advised, to say the least. Coupled with the prospect of being friended by stalkers and strangers, not to mention being available for any potential employers or school officials, this makes for a very dangerous mix.
  4. Poor Time Management – It’s very easy to lose track of one’s time while socializing on Facebook, and hours at a time can be lost without even realizing it, often at the expense of more important things like homework, chores, etc. It may be wise to install a filter software that can monitor use and block certain sites during specified time periods to ensure that your kids don’t spend too much time on the website.
  5. Indiscriminate Downloading – Facebook is notorious for third party apps that seek to gain access to personal data and the friend lists of members who use them. There’s a large risk associated with accepting gifts via some of these app, unfortunately, that could end up compromising your personal information.
  6. Poor Grammar – As with chat rooms, IM’s, and text messaging, all of which came prior to social media, Facebook posts can tend toward cyber shorthand, whether it’s in the interest of brevity or simply born out of sheer laziness. Although it’s acceptable – even necessary in some cases – to limit character usage, it’s very easy for this habit to leak over to your child’s more formal writing and correspondence.
  7. Not Safeguarding Personal Info – Facebook provides varying levels of privacy settings for its users. Members can share everything with anyone, or limit access to their profile to just friends and/or family. Kids today have become ok and even lax with the safeguarding of their personal information, and identity theft, stalking or harassment can end up being one of the penalties for your child being too open with his or her personal information.

Source:  Become A Nanny

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Are you struggling with a teen that was always a good kid – now making some horrible choices?

Are they hanging out with kids that are questionable?

Did you get a report card that was less than acceptable?

Have you seen evidence of them smoking or using other substances?  Maybe drinking?

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Join us on Facebook – and LIKE our community of professionals, parents and educators that want to help.

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Holidays and Facebook and Social Networking

The holidays are here! Whether you are celebrating the holiday or not,  many are catching up on their social networking!

Friends are posting on each other’s Facebook walls – Merry Christmas!

Heartwarming photo’s and touching video’s are being circulated and it is simply a time of catching up with your family and friends – virtually!

Virtually is reality today, and if you aren’t one of the billion people on Facebook, chances are pretty good you will eventually get signed up.

The best part about social networking is that there is something for everyone.  From 8 years old, to 18 years old to 80 years old – the fact that the Internet is ageless is priceless.

Remember, if your child is under 13 years-old, or even for teens, parenting and teaching cyber-safety is a must.  For the younger kids, get them involved in Yoursphere – a place for younger kids to mingle, chat and be safe.  At Yoursphere – safety is their priority.

So as you are checking your Facebook wall and your friends walls, take the time to share it with your kids – after all, isn’t holidays about family?

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Read more.

Teen Seasonal Employment: Employers Now Asking for Facebook URL – What Does Yours Say?

Please include your Facebook link when applying for a job

At first glance you would think this is a misprint, but after applying online to a health food store, a young college grad student was asked to provide his Facebook link as part of the application process.  Before doing this, he did change his photo, and this is not implying his photo was inappropriate, however really wasn’t what you want a potential employer to view.  It was a silly photo of him and his friends on a Merry-Go-Round, not exactly a first impression you want a future employer to view or misunderstand.

In reality, many employers and college admissions are viewing Facebook pages.  We don’t need The Social Network movie that took the number one spot for two weeks in a row, to remind us of how powerful the Internet has become. 

Just recently, Jessica Bennett, wrote an amazing article for Newsweek – “What The Internet Knows About You.”  If you haven’t read it, now would be a good time, and remember to pass it on to your friends and family.

With each passing day your privacy is becoming slimmer and slimmer.  When it comes to your safety and the safety of your family, you need to take precautions to insure your cybersafety and your virtual resume. What is your Faceboook insurance?

With this information, as the holidays are approaching and many teens will be looking for seasonal help, they may want to take a double-take at their Facebook page.  If you are an adult looking for a job, needless to say, it can’t hurt to re-evaluate what you are posting online.

What may seem humorous to you and your friends, could be offensive to others.  Privacy is a gift, and how much you want to give is up to you.  However give with caution!

Learn more about ways to protect your privacy and protect yourself from identity theft.

Don’t learn the lesson the hard way, “Google Bomb! The Untold Story of the $11.3M Verdict That Changed the Way We Use the Internet,” a story everyone needs to read.

Read more.

Sue Scheff: PTA Announces Partnership with Facebook

Collaboration committed to educating kids, parents and teachers about responsible and safe Internet use
Memphis, Tenn. and Palo Alto, Calif. – June 10, 2010 – Today, National PTA and Facebook announced a formal collaboration to promote responsible and safe Internet use to kids, parents and teachers. Together, National PTA and Facebook will establish a comprehensive program that will provide information, support and news to encourage citizenship online, reduce cyberbullying and advance Internet safety and security.

The partnership is founded on the belief that awareness is essential to supporting safe and responsible Internet use. Thus, in addition to creating comprehensive and engaging resources, PTA and Facebook are committing to aggressively promoting Internet safety information to their respective audiences. National PTA will use its Website (, and actively reach out to the 24,000 local PTAs across the country with a goal of reaching every American public school. Facebook will raise awareness of the resources among the hundreds of millions of parents, teachers and children using its service through an in-kind Facebook commitment equivalent to $1 million and promotion on other parts of the site, including the safety center.

The announcement kicks off the National PTA convention in Memphis, Tenn. which marks the 40-year anniversary of the union of two parent associations dedicated to children and when the National PTA became a desegregated association.  At the convention, PTA is reaffirming its commitment to closing the achievement gap between students of different ethnicities and economic backgrounds.  Recognizing that disparities exist not only in students’ access to technology but also in their access to related education materials, the partnership extends these efforts.  As part of the agreement, both PTA and Facebook are committed to working to shrink the digital divide, by reaching families, regardless of income or race and providing them with tools and resources to keep them digitally smart on-line.

“Our vision is that each child, parent and teacher will have the knowledge and tools they need to harness the power of the Internet effectively – and safely,” says Charles J. “Chuck” Saylors, National PTA President. “Today, as we kick off National PTA’s convention in Memphis, we are announcing a partnership that will provide parents all across the nation with the knowledge, tools and resources they need to keep their children safe in this ever-changing technological society.”

“Nothing is more important to us than the safety and well being of the people, especially the many teenagers, who use Facebook,” says Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer of Facebook. “Only through the constant and concerted effort of parents, teachers, law enforcement and industry can we keep kids safe and help them develop into tomorrow’s leaders. We are proud to be working with National PTA toward that goal.”

The partnership builds on National PTA’s 114-year history of advocacy on behalf of children and Facebook’s efforts to create a trusted environment for its more than 400 million users. As was the case with the recently redesigned Facebook Safety Center, Facebook and PTA will consult with many child safety, education and technology experts to collect, build and maintain a comprehensive set of multi-media education resources for this initiative. The process will include significant input from Facebook’s global Safety Advisory Board.

To stay up to date on the initiative visit the PTA’s Facebook page at and the Facebook in Education page at

About Facebook
Founded in February 2004, Facebook’s mission is to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected. Anyone can sign up for Facebook and interact with the people they know in a trusted environment. Facebook is a privately held company and is headquartered in Palo Alto, Calif. 

About National PTA
National PTA® comprises millions of families, students, teachers, administrators, and business and community leaders devoted to the educational success of children and the promotion of parent involvement in schools. PTA is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit association that prides itself on being a powerful voice for all children, a relevant resource for families and communities, and a strong advocate for public education. Membership in PTA is open to anyone who wants to be involved and make a difference for the education, health, and welfare of children and youth.