Stop letting your kid’s freedom of speech be taken away

Guest post by Kat Hunt

Kat wrote this in response to a previous post on Offbeat Mama: Parenting a teen in the shadow of Facebook. — SK

Freedom of Speech – Watercolor Flag by PseudoLlama

This type of fear mongering makes me furious. Not because the original poster isn’t right, but because she is. And she shouldn’t be.

Should a co-worker or boss discover private photos of you, even if they were found on the ground in a public place, and you were fired over the content of those photos (or otherwise discriminated against), the company would be setting itself up for a lawsuit. The same goes if they read papers that were anything from a personal diary, to your college thesis.

But things placed on a non-work related blog online should be censored because, ten years down the line, someone may use a youthful indiscretion against you? I’m sorry — say what?

This is wrong. There should be laws against it. The internet is no more public than a public street or bar. If your boss walked into a bar and saw you getting drunk and stupid on your own time, they couldn’t fire you over it. But walk into a public area of the web and see pictures of you having gotten drunk and stupid, and they have just cause to muscle you out, or never consider hiring you in the first place?

As parents, I think we should teach our kids all due caution, but there should be outrage here, too. Outrage that their childhoods — their ability to make bad choices and act stupid and be young — is actively being taken from them. Our kids have to live in constant fear and under a constant scrutiny that no other generation has suffered beneath (and no generation should) to the point that, even in their youth, they must act with either the constant maturity of adults, or at least under a constant curtain of paranoia. And we blandly accept that their privacy will be invaded in such a way that, if the same thing happened with a real world equivalent, we’d never tolerate it.

The internet is many things, but mainly, it is a place where we are free to speak.

We also blandly accept that their voices are being silenced. “Never say something you wouldn’t say to your mom/shout from the rooftops?” Well then, never say to your extremely traditional mother that you think women should have equal rights to vote, and never tell the world either. Never shout from the rooftops in your bigoted town you think blacks should have equal rights, and don’t mention it in a letter to your local senator either. Never tell your boss, who works for a company that doesn’t pay taxes, how harmful and sleazy such a move is, and never march in the streets against it either.

Never cause a fuss.

Never make waves.

The internet is many things, but mainly, it is a place where we are free to speak. We speak anything, everything; and for every swearing teenager, there is a politically active, philosophical, or deeply moral person also spreading ideas we’ve never considered before. It is the only place in the world where like minds can gather in such strength and numbers that it can spark a revolution.

Every time we teach our kids to cover their tracks, to not rock the boat, to live in fear, we’re teaching them to curb their voice — to silence it.

But in order to have those good people, the price we pay is the bull. The youthful indiscretions, the exhibitionists, the potty mouths, the idiots, the trolls — all of it. It’s the darker side of the same coin — when we feel truly free to talk, we really do say absolutely anything. But we’re also practicing, exercising our voices, feeling our boundaries, finding out just how far we can go. Finding out how truly free we are.

Every time we teach our kids to cover their tracks, to not rock the boat, to live in fear, we’re teaching them to curb their voice — to silence it. To not bring their ideas to a larger public, in case Someone Important and Powerful reads about them, and disagrees. We teach them to fear the world, and fear their own innate power.

The wisest people I know made the most asinine mistakes as kids. They were the Darwin award winners, the trolls, the potty mouths, the indiscreet; they were the ones who pushed their boundaries and explored fully who and what they could be — and on the way also discovered who they could not be, and why. It wasn’t just youthful stupidity, but a pathway to a more fully realized Selfhood. It was — and still is — a necessary part of growing up.

Until laws are in place to protect our children, being cautionary about what you put online is very sound advice. But we shouldn’t be teaching our own how to be more discreet, docile citizens (nor how to go hog wild, mind you, but moderation). Instead, we should also have a sense of outrage and be teaching them the same outrage. We should be pointing out how their personal boundaries are being crossed, their right to privacy (again, photos on a public sidewalk) is beings breached, and this is not something they should take lying down.

They should make waves, use their voices, and fight for the kind of future where, even if the click of a mouse brings up every sin from their school record to that thing they did at that party the other night, they can be secure in the knowledge that they can still get loans, hold a job, and not be discriminated against for having a life outside of work and being human and therefore fallible.

This threat is as dangerous and as evil as more violently straightforward methods of separating people from their rights as citizens.

All of this also affects a fundamental constitutional right — freedom of speech. Not because it is being taken by force, but because the voices of our children are being silenced through fear of speaking out. If someone holds a gun to your head and says if you speak you’ll die they have not technically taken away your constitutional right. They have put you in a position where your right is functionally gone anyway. The corporate threat of only hiring the workers with the most docile lives, of our children not being able to get a job, pay the bills, or do unimportant little things like eat, is the equivalent of that loaded gun. This threat is as dangerous and as evil as more violently straightforward methods of separating people from their rights as citizens.

This is not okay.

It will never be okay. But because guns aren’t involved, we shrug, mutter something about “the world, she is a’changing,” and roll right on trying to passively adapt to our new environment, rather than actively shape it to our needs as human beings.

We should be angry, on our own behalf, and that of our kids. And yet, it seems too often that no one is. There is more and more we cannot do: acts that are non-criminal, as old as time, and hurt no one, more and more fences around our speech and behavior… you know, just in case. Not only is no one upset, no one even seems to wonder why we’re losing so much ground or what to do about it. Instead, there is only one message — be discreet, keep it on the down-low, and adapt.

Comments on Stop letting your kid’s freedom of speech be taken away

  1. I completely agree. This frustrates me to no end.

    As long as what is done in the spare time does not directly affect the work of the employee, then there should be nothing the employer can do about it. Blogging about the fact that they’re in an open relationship under a different name? Fine. It’s not that company’s problem. Pictures of them drinking and having fun off hours. That company better learn to deal with it, as almost everyone drinks.

    ARGH. Things that infringe upon the freedom of speech drive me nuts.

  2. On a note of “I agree with almost all of this post, that our online lives haunting us shouldn’t be our social/legal policy,” I just wanted to remind us that our constitutional rights only pertain to restrictions by the government, not by any private citizen or company…
    And now back to the regularly scheduled Offbeat Awesome 🙂

    • correct. if your boss walks into a bar and sees you drunk, in most states, she CAN fire you. in fact, if you work for Coors, and your boss walks into a bar and sees you drinking a Bud Light, he can fire you too (and it’s happened!

      now, i think we SHOULD have the right to do whatever we feel on our own time, but the fact is, we DON’T. when it comes to private employment, we don’t have nearly the rights most of us think we do.

      • Moreover, even if there were a law, the reality is that anti-discrimination laws are routinely violated when it is not easy to prove. It would be very difficult to prove that someone failed to hire you because of what is on your facebook page rather than one of a hundred other factors. Therefore, even if there was a law it would not change the wisdom of the advice to be aware of what you are posting online and what its potential impact on future employers might be.

        I think the surest solution to this is, unfortunately, time. Part of the problem now is that the people doing the hiring generally have a very different relationship to the internet than the young people they are hiring. The hiring manager’s dirty laundry is not out on the internet. In 20 years (or less), the people doing the hiring will be today’s young people who will have a much better understanding of what it means to have all of your youthful shenanigans immortalized on the internet. As such, I suspect they will consider it much less of a big deal in the people they are hiring.

        • Yes, I think our generation and our kids’ generation will be the ones who ultimately shape information sharing. We’re doing it right now. Raging against it is not really effective, and the smart people are the ones who are thinking up paths around it. Having smart blocks on who sees your profiles is one of those paths.

          You know, I’m 36 and dealing with an issue where I posted stuff on my personal website about a relationship I have with a one-off family member–I posted those things seven years ago–and they were recently discovered. My feelings about that person had changed radically over time, but am dealing with the judgement about my outdated words now. Like they say, nothing on the internet ever really goes away. I think we learn to deal with it. We change our boundaries, we change our methods. But we continue to speak. That’s the most important thing.

  3. This post confuses me. If your boss found pictures of you on the street or saw you behaving obnoxiously on a bar on the weekend, they absolutely could fire you for that. And as an attorney, I’m trying to imagine the basis for your lawsuit against the company. Your boss can fire you just because they don’t LIKE you–as long as you’re not fired for a protected reason (racial, gender, religious discrimination).

    Pictures dropped on the street are just destroyed more quickly than those posted on the internet and that does change the way that people in future generations must conduct themselves. The inability to delete your e-past is kind of a bummer, but I will absolutely warn my children that it is a fact of life.

    Balancing your privacy and your right to be heard (and the benefits and consequences of those things) is something everybody is going to have to learn to do now. I’m not saying children should be shut down and silenced, but they should be aware that youthful indiscretions don’t disappear the way they once did.

    • Whether my boss could fire me for seeing me getting drunk in a bar depends on the (in the US) state that I live in and what the work laws are.

      • Well, all 50 U.S. states embrace the legal doctrine of at-will employment, which means you can be fired for a good reason, a bad reason, or no reason at all. The exceptions are narrow and I have never heard of a law protecting the right to post embarrassing photos on Twitter without repercussions at work.

        An exception to this might exist if you work for the government, but in almost all other cases, the law doesn’t prohibit your boss from firing you for any reason.

          • the funny thing is that they call it “right-to-work” here, too. only, what they mean is that you can quit or be fired for no/any reason.

        • ” all 50 U.S. states embrace the legal doctrine of at-will employment, which means you can be fired for a good reason, a bad reason, or no reason at all. ”

          To me, as an European, this sounds bizarre; we can only get fired for a good reason (like, not doing your work properly or doing criminal things during work) and even then it’s hard for a boss to fire someone.

          Anyhow, I get what the OP is trying to say, but I agree with other commenters: the sad fact is: stuff on the Internet can haunt you. And as for teen agers: I think they can do plenty of stupid stuff, they just shouldn’t do it online. It’s a good thing if we make ‘m aware of that.

          • The legal doctrine mentioned above, however, is not always in line with organizational HR policies. It’s unlikely most employers I’ve ever worked for would fire someone for no reason at all; even if it’s seemingly no reason, they’d come up with one and have appropriate documentation to prove that person should have been fired according to company policies.

    • Whether or not it’s constitutional is beside the point – is it ethical? I’m not too sure where I fall on that.

      I mean, let’s put it this way – while I live in a country with anti-discrimination laws, as you point out it’s damn hard to prove when you haven’t been hired yet. I’m queer. Would it be ethical for someone to refuse to hire me because I’m out on the Internet? (My Facebook is pretty locked down, but if someone happened upon my Twitter or my posts on various blogs they would see my picture and my first name.) Technically it would be illegal, yes, but I would argue it would still be unethical if I lived somewhere with different laws.

  4. I’ve got to say I respectfully disagree. Teens have the right to say whatever they want – but they don’t have the privelege of doing so without possible consequences. That’s not the real world. How you portray yourself publically matters, and the Internet is public. It’s a new way to be public, sure, but it’s not a secret that it’s public – posting nude pictures of yourself online is the same thing as making posters and hanging them all over town.

    That being said, I think that by the time our kids enter the job market, there are going to be so few candidates WITHOUT some youthful internet scandal that employers are going to have to relax by necessity. As you said, everyone does stupid things as a kid, and now everyone does them online.

    • There are so many different viewpoints that I agree and disagree on in this article, but when you said, “but they don’t have the privelege of doing so without possible consequences” it really got me thinking. I fully agreed with the above article until I read your reply and I have to say I am behind it. Just because you’re a kid or teen with little responsibility, does not excuse you from owning up to your actions. There are moments to be carefree and form ideals and that’s wonderful, but when you post something publicly, you deal with the consequences. A private company doesn’t want their employees behaving in a bad manner, and that’s at their discretion. As another poster said, they can fire you because they just don’t like you, they don’t have to have an “official” reason.

    • I thought precisely the same thing the entire time I read this article. In no way is freedom of speech being taken away! The reality of it is, kids these days are simply using their freedom to an extent never before possible for previous generations–and some are suffering the consequences. As a 21 yr-old college student, I am fully aware that my decisions could have unintended consequences when it comes to future careers. However, that is a reality that applies to all aspects of life, not just your online profile. Bad decisions made any time of the day, any day of the week can literally make the difference between reaching the future you want or not. That’s not unfair. That’s not terrible. That’s life.

  5. I think as this generation grows up to be the one doing the hiring, it won’t be much of a problem anymore. They will all have “incriminating” data online somewhere, so they are not going to care if someone else does. Same goes for those running for public office. Right now it is still a big scandal if some stupid pictures get found, but after some years, there will hardly be anyone left who doesn’t have stupid pictures or comments online, and most people won’t care anymore. At least I hope that is the way it goes.

  6. I agree with a previous poster that eventually employers will have no choice but to hire people with online indiscretions, because as far as I can see, there is no stopping it! This is the kind of post I LOVE to see here! I think you’ve brought to light that the problem isn’t people posting nude photos, cursing, being totally wasted or what have you. The problem is that people are becoming afraid to post an opinion, to post a photo of them having a glass of wine, to NOT be a person that just agrees with everyone for the sake of appearances. I do this, and I hate it. I make a point not to make my facebook available to ANYONE except people I know that aren’t from work for this reason, in hopes that I will allow myself to be myself online.

    BTW my cousin had his class presidency taken away because he has a facebook account. This was maybe 2 or 3 years ago. Not because of something he posted there, but because he. has. an. account. What is this madness?

  7. “Never say something you wouldn’t say to your mom/shout from the rooftops?” – I would like to point out that this was one of my comments from a previous blog about a similar topic and for clarification it did not mean shut and walk the other way when you see an injustice. It was more like dont write about giving your 1st boyfriend a B.j. cause someone might fined it and show the rest of your school.

  8. you know, i am a 25 year old professional and this article really spoke to something i’m personally fighting right now. my mother complains that discussing my political, religious, and social beliefs on social networking sites as well as discussing my two bizarre jobs (HIV clinic worker by day, bartender by night) will set me up for failure later in life, as we do live in an incredibly conservative city.

    what frustrates me is that i’m not a “potty mouth”, nor are there tons of drunk pictures of me. however, my mother has been exactly right. its a complete shame that i am passed over for any of the above reasons (and some are illegal)… just a thought, it isn’t always teens and college kids who get the raw end of this deal.

  9. THANK YOU for saying this. I am so sick of being told to only say what I really think in whispers behind locked doors. I mean, yes, of course, think about the consequences of your actions, but you make the point here that there are consequences of only being yourself in private as well!

  10. I, too, somewhat disagree with this article. In fact, it feels as if our freedom of speech is expanding. Because of niche forums, facebook, etc, we as a generation and therefore our children, are given the opportunity to say and do things that a lot of us have the sense not to do in public. If my teenager does a shitload of graffiti and posts pictures of it on their wall it gives me the opportunity as a responsible parent to direct them to a better, more anonymous outlet such as a community website devoted to that. There’s no sacrifice in identity, just the omission of personal information.

    Yes, it sucks that we can’t say and do what we want to online because it will have an affect on our future. but as many readers have already mentioned, we wouldn’t act like an idiot in front of our coworkers and expect them to treat us humanely the next day. On the same note, no one would shout from the rooftops in a bigot0filled neighborhood that everyone needs equal rights, but they could start a movement of like-minded people online safely and find solace in that.

    I think what I’m getting at here is that it’s again the responsibility of the parent to teach boundaries. Unfortunately there IS squelching in real life, but that’s the downside to living in society. We need to teach our kids that there are outlets for their creativity and anger that are still public and safe. We just need to teach them the importance of anonymity and make sure not to devalue it. There’s rebelling, and there’s adapting. There is zero shame in doing either.

    You can make the world yours and try to shape it, or you can bang your head up against the wall. I’m going to teach my kid about the joy of quiet rebellion.

  11. Also I’d like to note that no other generation has had the ability to share naked pictures of themselves with millions of people. So yeah.

    • But someone can take a pic of you doing something foolish without your knowledge on their phone and share it with millions. Not cool, man.

  12. That’s life.

    Oh! Nothing bugs me more! I think the author is trying to say that we should feel free to say what we want on the internet without fear of not being able to get a job because of it. Obviously there are consequences to everything, but being fired because there’s a picture of you drinking sounds pretty ridiculous to me. (I wasn’t aware you could be fired if your boss see’s you at a bar. That’s insane.) I believe the author is also saying that we should not accept things just because “that’s life” instead we should “actively shape it to our needs as human beings.”

    Beautifully said, Kat!

    This reminds me of my mom and her view of tattoos. My brother has recently become a tattoo artist and my mom is trying to accept it and be supportive. She feels that we shouldn’t have tattoos because it could make it hard to find jobs. She’s absolutely right, and I tell her that it will always be hard for tattooed individuals to get jobs if people are afraid to get them. Instead, it’s important to own who you are (tattoos, homosexuality, whatever!) and demand equality. Saying “life is rough” allows inequalities to be okay. They’re not okay. Everyday we should fight them, even if it’s in a small way.

  13. It’s easy to be in favour of freedom of speech, when the speech being protected is stuff you agree with. How would you feel if you discovered that your daycare provider had made jokes about child abuse on Facebook or belonged to a racist group in their spare time? Would you trust that they were keeping those attitudes out of the work place or would you infringe on their privacy by not wanting them looking after your kids?

    I think it’s ridiculous to expect people to ignore the things they find out about you on the internet. I certainly Google people to get a bit more of a feel for where they’re coming from and it makes sense to advise your kids to manage their online presence. That doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t put anything controversial up there, but just as they should weigh up the consequences of potentially getting arrested if they engage in direct action, they should weigh consequences of what comes up if you Google them.

    • I think this is a really, really good point, Sam. When I put myself in the shoes of an employer, it gets even more complicated – if I find something on the Internet (where the employee posted it PUBLICALLY)that tells me unsavory things about an employee, do I ignore it even if it might put my business at risk?

    • This is a really good point. I sometimes worry that the fact that there are facebook photos up of me from my days as a body paint model (sort of naked), or the photo of me doing a keg stand in a toga will impact my ability to get work, BUT the thing is that those experiences were a part of my life and I’d feel almost dishonest removing them (I’m tagged in these photos, didn’t put them up myself). If an employer looks past my extensive resume, killer references, and years of volunteer work and decides to not hire me because I can do a keg stand and a killer performance as a body paint model (it’s very non-sexual, I was once a bald baboon/gremlin like creature who came out screaming and growling), then they’re not an employer I want to work for.

      Basically, what I mean is that if an employer can’t tell the difference between a youthful indiscretion/something your employee does on the weekend, and serious issues that might impact their performance/how they are perceived by their clients, then that’s a problem. When hiring, an employer should look at online presence, but be smart about what you’re looking at and weight it against all the other evidence this person is showing you.

      (I suppose another thing is that I have an extremely common name so it’s essentially impossible to find these photos unless you’re already a faceook friend and you want to sift through hundreds of photos. So you know, giving your kid a common name might just have some added benefits :))

      • I’m in the same situation, sort of – I used to direct a shadow cast for Rocky Horror, and consequently there are many photos floating aroun of me in lingerie doing some very risqué things as part of a performance, but a) my Facebook is set to private, and b) the kind of company who would fire/not hire me for something like that wouldn’t be the kind of place I want to work.

  14. As someone who was just figuring out who I am when Facebook emerged on the college scene, I have my fair share of “colorful” photos and posts (though really, compared to some people’s profiles, my stuff seems tame). There are also posts and links to interesting things I’ve seen or read, covering all range of topics from the artistic to the scientific to the political. The point is, my online life is pretty transparent, an honest representation of who I am. While I have set my privacy controls pretty strictly, if a potential employer happened to somehow see my online life and not hire me for it, my feelings on the matter are that it’s not a place I would have wanted to work anyway, because they are basically rejecting who I am as a person, regardless of my qualifications.

  15. “The internet is no more public than a public street or bar.”

    I categorically dispute this statement. On a public street, generously, hundreds of people will witness your actions as they pass by. Those witnesses may or may not tell some friends, and then it’s over. On the internet, millions potentially witness, and what you have said/done will remain there for millions more to see. I believe it is more accurate to say that posting to the internet today is roughly the equivalent to having your actions broadcast on the network TV news back in the day. Even that analogy is not completely accurate as the broadcast moment would’ve passed quickly and not remained searchable for all time, but can you imagine what it would have been like to have your teenage indiscretions aired on the nightly news? I certainly could’ve lost my job making pizzas, that’s for sure!

    The internet has and always will be a double-edged sword. For every gift it gives there is a price to pay. Personally, I mourn the loss of privacy the world has experienced in the age of social networking, but it is not going away so we must adapt. I own a small business and my internet reputation can make or break me. Anyone I employ must inherently understand that, right or wrong, potential clients can interpret their actions as a reflection of my business practices – that means both how they behave directly in front of clients AND how they behave in a way clients can see on the internet. Sadly, it’s just the way of the new world we live in.

  16. My longer take on this… I’m an Offbeat Bride/Home girl and nonparent, but this topic really struck me! I was in high school in the mid-90s and spent many an evening on my dial-up AOL blabbing on usenet. (Did you know that crap is FOREVER?) Luckily things I said were more embarrassing in a geeky sense than an inappropriate sense, but still, I did have a parent who read my stuff and would say something to me if I maybe went too far. Of course, I do wish a really net-savvy person had told me of the permanence of this stuff.

    Point being, I don’t regret having had the opportunity to communicate in this way growing up. I became a better writer (and great at one-line insults) by crafting replies in forums like this one, which is one of the things that helped me grow into the person I am today. I spoke to people elsewhere instead of just in my own geographic community. If someone had said, “hey, this stuff is going to piss off a potential future employer,” I would have been a very unhappy camper. Do I really want to work for someone who cares that I had an urge as a young adult to reach out to others in different places using different forms of technologies?

    Now, if there were naked photos of me online, this is another conversation. But strictly speaking of the fear to speak online altogether, it’s a fear the next generations shouldn’t have to have.

  17. I am Canadian but I have personally never heard of any one being fired or passed up on a job because they posted pics of them having a few beers with friends. If you were passed up for a job because you have pics on the net of you having a beer then why would you want to work there anyway? Most youthful indrescretions are pretty harmless. Toilet papering a house on halloween at age 14 is unlikely to have dramatic effects on your future. Now if you have pics of your self getting tanked in the drivers seat of a vehicle or vandalizing someone else’s property then you should get fired. I personally wouldn’t want someone like that representing my company. Also can’t you just only allow friends on your Facebook? If you are going to post pics of your self doing stupid shit then don’t friend your boss. Just my opinion though.

  18. “Never say something you wouldn’t say to your mom/shout from the rooftops?”

    As a member of Gen Y (born in 1984; first email account at 9; working in the tech industry), that caution has always meant “THINK about what you’re saying.”

    It’s not that you shouldn’t espouse beliefs different than your mother’s or your boss’s, but that if you’re confronted with them, you should be okay acknowledging them as yours. It’s not that you’ll never be embarrassed by bad teenage poetry on a public website (and for a number of years, that was one of my self-Googling results!) or that your opinions won’t have changed a decade later. But do things and say things — on the Internet and elsewhere — that you are proud of. That you will be proud of, at least for knowing that at the time they reflected you accurately, when they come back to you (or your employer) down the road.

    Believe in what you put out there — which may mean that you DO say those things that your mother wouldn’t agree with — and own it. Otherwise, why post it at all?

  19. I agree with the right to free speech and being able to post your opinions, beliefs, and stupid pictures on pages you control, like facebook. But there is a fine line between posting fun pictures and posting irresponsible pictures. I think it’s a parents or maybe peers responsibility to to give guidance about what kinds of images about yourself you want to be sharing with the world. Posting a picture of having a few drinks with friends at a bar? Perfectly fine. Posting a picture of underage drinking and smoking weed? That can get you in trouble with the law. Officers do use facebook images as evidence in cases. Certain organizations and jobs can use this information against you too if it puts their company in a bad light. It’s also the users responsibility to make sure all photos are under the privacy settings that they want. If it’s private and the company finds it somehow, without the user’s permission, then it may be edging on unethical. But if someone leaves embarrassing photos out for everyone to see, that’s public information.

  20. I agree that someday people won’t care as much about these things someday but this won’t happen as soon as you think it will. These days everyone has an online reputation. Would you want to limit your child’s career as a doctor? I know I look up my doctor’s online and if you’re expecting things to get better when the generation before it dies off, well considering how important the elderly are as clients in health care. If my child decides they want to be an activist, bonny for them, but I’m not going to force that life upon them before they’re too old to understand the consequences.

  21. Eh , , , , You can also use the social media to teach your kids about discretion and responsibility. There ARE privacy seetings in lace on these mediums for a reason! If you were applying for a job or a college admittance you wouldn’t go into the interview and say, “Oh yeah I partied so hard last night and I do it ALL the time!” or, “I have a potty mouth and I have no control over my behavior or what I say and do!” Or would you take pictures into those places of you and your friends drunk or smoking pot or naked and show them at an interview? With actions come consequences and responsibility and kids have to be taught to discriminate so the consequences of their action end up being positive ones, not derogatory. I believe they should have voices, but paying attention to how you will be viewed by your actions in a public forum is NOT a bad thing! Would it be ok too if your kids felt like running through the streets or businesses naked and they should have the “right” to do so? Or be ugly, mean and being abusive to people in public? Social media IS just like you’re out in public and self-control and cognitive, critical thinking are important! Teaching kids to hold back on certain things teaches them self-control and self-dicipline, which is much needed in the “adult world”. Otherwise, they’ll come across like those college students that were throwing fits over the election. Right? Childish, immature and not ready to handle the REAL world! Plus in this day and age with all of the predators out there seeking children to exploit and using social media to sift out the weaker more vulnerable ones, they NEED to be a little afraid of just putting anything and everything out there! It opens them up to abuse in so many ways. So is their “freedom” on social media worth any of that? Not in my book!!

  22. As others have said, this is definitely not a freedom of speech issue. You are not censored by the government, simply by your own sense of what is reasonable to share with the world. It’s completely fair for people and employers to judge you for the things you say and do, whether you document those things online or not.
    Also, the wisest people you know are definitely not Darwin award winners…Darwin awards are for people who DIE doing something extremely stupid.

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