An Oxford, CT high school student recently died in a tragic single vehicle crash with a fellow teenager at the wheel. The car had been pursued just prior to the accident by a local police officer who noticed its illegal undercarriage neon lights. An intrepid local newspaper reporter found the driver’s Facebook page several days later. As one could expect by now, it contained posts that the driver certainly wishes he’d never authored. Exchanges between he and a friend included:
Friend: (referring to the undercarriage lights) I’m surprised you haven’t been told to take em off, aren’t they illegal in CT?
Driver: Yup, I’ve got to go to court in August for them.
An additional exchange featured the driver’s thoughts on previously having to going to court for breaking and entering charges. All subsequently published in the daily newspaper for everyone to see.
Additional cause for concern regarding repercussions for posting personal details online were detailed in a recent Associated Press story, which reporter that prospective employers are requiring applicants to provide their Facebook passwords as part of the hiring process. As federal lawmakers scrambled in response to write bills to prohibit this practice, a Hartford Courant ‘Claim Check’ followup story indicated that it, is not, in fact, widespread policy.
However, both these news stories are only the latest proof that what people post online can haunt them. This is typically more of a problem for young adults and teenagers, whose judgment and foresight are still developing. Yet, these news stories are a timely reminder to people of all ages that a certain practicality prevails over our right to free speech: If your thoughts were to be seen by the wrong set of eyes, could it create personal or professional difficulties? That’s all you need to know on whether you should publicly post them.