The whole point of Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, and Twitter is being able to express yourself freely online, so that means you can’t get in trouble for what you post, right?
Sure, it’s not the best idea to tweet about how lame your teacher is, and it’s downright Mean Girls to leave nasty comments under someone’s selfie, but it’s not against the law, is it?
Er, actually sometimes it is.
“You can get into a lot of trouble when it comes to social media use if you don’t understand the relevant laws around it,” says Susan McLean, the director at Cyber Safety Solutions.
Even if your social media accounts are private, you can still get fired for saying not-so great things about where you work.
“If you say anything that may ruin the good reputation of a workplace or school, then that organisation can discipline you,” Susan warns.
“There is no defense that the account was ‘private.’ There is no such thing as privacy online and everything you post, like, or share becomes public,” she explains, adding that teens under 18 can be sued for their comments and criminal charges can be pressed as well.
The best thing to do is obviously not say anything questionable on your socials about your school or workplace, but if you have a habit of posting your thoughts without always thinking things through, check your school or workplace’s guidelines to see exactly where they stand when it comes to social media.