C.L. Lindsay Explains the Dangers of Social Media

BY ELLA KIRBY

C.L. Lindsay presented his lecture on Social Media on Thursday, Sept. 17, at 7 p.m. in the Fort Howard Theatre. His talk specifically focused on the consequences of posting explicit material onto social media sites, the repercussions that it can hold in the future and ways to use social media in a more responsible and safe manner.

C.L. Lindsay is a well-known attorney who deals with student rights and academic freedom for college students around the country.

Lindsay began his lecture by emphasizing that college students need to stop and think about what they post onto social media sites. What might have seemed like a good idea at the time can turn out to have huge, consequential impacts further down the line.

Posting a picture on Facebook that shows a student drinking underage has an extremely high chance of being noticed by college officials. That student then has to face the consequences of their actions, which could potentially be as serious as expulsion, depending on the college or university.

“We change our expectations when we go online, and we change our ethics when we go online,” Lindsay said.

Lindsay then explained about the repercussions of “Sexting,” and highlighted one harrowing example: Eighteen-year-old Ohio High School student Jessica Logan sent a topless photo to her 18-year-old boyfriend during his trip out of town. Two weeks later, Jessica broke up with him. In retaliation, the ex-boyfriend forwarded her topless picture to everyone he knew. Jessica was relentlessly terrorized with derogatory terms at school. The intense bullying eventually pushed her to her committing suicide.

“All the laws in the world can’t suck that picture back into your phone. Once it’s out there, it’s out there,” said Lindsay.

Lindsay also presented the fact that “Fifteen percent of teens who have sent a nude or semi-nude image have sent it to somebody they only ever met online.” People regularly use these images for future blackmail, which is known as “sextortion.”

Lindsay covered the topic of online harassment, defining it as “interfering with somebody’s day to day life” or “reacting to a reasonable fear or physical harm in somebody.” Harrassment can be done just as much online as it can be done offline.

Campus “confession pages” are another source for online danger or harassment. Despite the term “anonymous,” this is not the case. Although there is no law against freedom of speech, if a threat of any type is perceived, one’s identity can be figured out.

“Be as benign as you can on these places,” said Lindsay.

The last point Lindsay made was in reference to online privacy.

“If you put anything, any place online, there is no expectation that you can have privacy,” said Lindsay. This means that even one’s email account is not entirely private. For students to protect themselves as much as possible, students should double check the privacy settings on any social media site that they are a part of.

Lindsay ended his lecture by raising several points of what to do online to help with getting a job or internship: 1) Use a professional email address, 2) Do not insult any workplace online and 3) A substantial amount of employers will observe social media sites as part of their hiring decision, so think before posting something potentially harmful.

“If you don’t want someone to have information about you, don’t put it [online].” said Lindsay.

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