Wednesday, December 10, 2008

More warnings today about embarassing or incriminating self-portrayal (or material by others) on the Net: it lasts forever


Here we go again. On both the Today Show and on ABCs “The View” today media commentators warned about the risks of posting racy photos on the web, or even of allowing others to take them (and then post them). College admissions officers (up to 38% now) and employers (and once in a while, prosecutors) are looking, whether it’s completely ethical or not. Besides photos, students should be wary of playing “Gossip Girl” and writing disparagingly about colleges or employers that they visit, according to reports.

“The View” took the position that teens simply don’t understand that what’s out there is “for life” because it’s digital, and their parents grew up in a generation that had never known “this problem.” The broadcasters warned that Myspace and Facebook privacy settings really don't prevent public distribution of unflattering materials.

About.com (in the “Young Adults” column) has an interesting story by Jackie Burrell, “Facebook, MySpace and Internet Perils: 5 Online Dangers That Have Nothing to Do With Internet Predators” link here. The prosecution scenario in Ohio is chilling, especially that the recipient of the photos could be prosecuted when the receipt could have been involuntary. Maybe that's just Ohio. But the article mentioned other legal scenarios, as well as colleges, grad schools and employers.

Reputation, I say, is in the eye of the beholder.

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