High School Students
5 THINGS TO THINK ABOUT BEFORE PRESSING “SEND”
- Don’t assume anything you send or post is going to remain private. Your messages and images will get passed around, even if you think they won’t: 40% of teens and young adults say they have had a sexually suggestive message (originally meant to be private) shown to them and 20% say they have shared such a message with someone other than the person for whom it was originally meant.
- There is no changing your mind online—anything you send or post will never truly go away. Something that seems fun and flirty and is done on a whim will never really die. Potential employers, college recruiters, teachers, coaches, parents, friends, enemies, strangers, and others are able to find your past posts, even after you delete them. It is nearly impossible to control what other people are posting about you. Think about it: even if you have second thoughts and delete a racy photo, there is no telling who has already copied that photo and posted it elsewhere.
- Don’t give in to the pressure to do something that makes you uncomfortable, even online. More than 40% of teens and young adults (42% total, 47% of teens, 38% of young adults) say “pressure from guys” is a reason girls and women send and post inappropriate messages and images. More than 20% of teens and young adults (22% total, 24% of teens, 20% of young adults) say “pressure from friends” is a reason guys send and post inappropriate messages and images.
- Consider the recipient’s reaction. Just because a message is meant to be fun doesn’t mean the person who gets it will see it that way. 4 in 10 teen girls who have sent inappropriate content did so as a “joke” but many boys (29%) agree that girls who send such content are “excepted to date or hook up in real life.” It’s easier to be more provocative or outgoing online, but whatever you write, post, or send does contribute to the real-life impressions you are making.
- Nothing is truly anonymous. Nearly one in five young people who send inappropriate suggestive messages and images, do so to people they only know online (18% total, 15% teen, 19% young adults). It is important to remember that even if someone only knows you by screen name, online profile, phone number, or email address, they can probably find if they try hard enough.