Social media - it's harmless...right?

ACTIVITY

Let’s set the scene:

You’ve had a tough day at work, and your boss raked you over the coals for a mistake that wasn’t your fault. To blow off a bit of steam, you log into Facebook, or Twitter, or into your blog (much like this one), and post a frustrated comment or status update that doesn’t exactly paint your boss or the company you work for in a great light.

You assume that this flippant comment will wash back into cyberspace and you’ll never hear from it again.

Unfortunately, like thousands of other social media users, you’ve just committed a potentially grievous mistake.

With security profiles constantly changing and updating, all it takes is a quick Google search by your boss and hey presto; there’s your comment in all its libellous glory. Next thing you know, you’re being pulled into their office and asked to pack your things.

The downward spiral doesn’t stop here. Now, you’re unemployed, looking for work and sending out reams of resumes, but with no responses. You can’t figure it out, you’ve got good credentials and experience, but you’re not even getting a first round call back.

Why?

Well, recruiters and potential employers know how to use the internet too. They’ll do a little search on you, just to see what pops up, and when that comment that got you fired from your last job appears, alarms bells start ringing.  With the click of a mouse, you are considered an unattractive candidate, and your resume finds a new home - the bin.

Sure, all of this is a bit worst case scenario, but cyber security and privacy is an issue that the Victorian government is taking very seriously.

With more and more young people reporting that online posts and images placed on media like Facebook and Twitter have resulted in them missing out on jobs, being bullied or stalked (and in some severe cases, even falling foul of the law) the Government is joining in, urging social media users to safeguard their privacy and protect their reputations.

Minister for Youth Affairs Ryan Smith says it’s the responsibility of all users to make sure they understand their actions (and the consequences) when online.

“The web has a long memory and once something gets online, it could be there for life. While we are not saying don’t post comments and images on social media, we are saying think twice before you do.”

With statistics showing that more than 92 per cent of young people are concerned about social media privacy issues, and more than 40 per cent of young Australians have had pictures posted online without their permission, it’s an issue that affects everyone - social media users, their families and their friends.

So, think twice before you hit the ‘post’ button. That split second decision could be the difference between a well-lived life, or a down-and-out drama. - Greta


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