Facebook asks this every time we sign on…yet we know that if we do post exactly what’s on our minds, people comment and judge..and we shouldn’t complain? Right? Wrong! We tend to forget that this is our social network…the one that is built around social interaction and media content and even the cutest posts. However, one is warned that they should be more careful about what they post..should an employer find you partying on the weekends at the frat party or a pic of you naked, or some other equally embarrassing moment. These days most of what we do ends up online..in pictures, status updates, tags, videos (Youtube anyone?) and what we don’t stop to think about as we’re having fun posting all of this on a social media site is this…this stuff comes back to haunt you. Eventually. Perhaps ten years later when you apply for that dream job and the employer decides to check that Facebook page you have, or does a quick Google search with your name..and every moment that was posted online is suddenly right there where you don’t want it…in your potential employers face. These days you have to be very careful to comply with company policy whether you are at the office or not. You are the face of that company,….the part that represents the employees. Along with everyone you work with. One slip can cost you your job…a college interview/admission…even in some cases. your relationship/marriage/reputation for years to come. I have seen instances where someone posted a picture online out of revenge..and lived to regret it later….and with the social media pictures that only serve to mortify, embarrass, and humiliate beyond all reason cannot be taken back once they circulate around the web. Most kids these days do not understand this..one picture can circulate the world in a matter of minutes and can scar them for life…even end up in the wrong hands. But there are privacy settings set up for that..you argue. Ah yes. privacy settings. Most kids can easily disable/change them..in a matter of minutes. And as a parent, you’d never know it. Until the picture of your kid/teen goes viral all over the world. Or unless that one pic/video you posted goes viral before you can control it. What most people seem to forget is that these social networks are truly dangerous ….and we’ve all heard stories where one pic is sent to someone, who then sends it on to someone else and before they realize it, in mere minutes, it’s sent to everyone in their school, work, you-name-it. This is what makes social media so dangerous…and that’s not to mention the bullying that’s going on. There are several sites online that are made for bullying innocent, fragile teens..ask.fm is certainly one of them. Another one is Facebook. While I love Facebook and currently am among one of the billions of users on that site, I know the dangers associated with it and bullying definitely falls under that category. These days bullying isn’t limited to just the playground and the halls of high schools..often the same children that are bullied at school are bullied online as well. Relentlessly. This has led to many suicides….and too many broken families, broken dreams. But unfortunately Facebook isn’t the end all of bullying. It can take the form of text in a chat room..these days the chat rooms are full of bullies, harassing innocent people and calling them vile, disgusting names. They are commonly termed keyboard warriors..the ones who feel bold behind a computer screen, as if the person on the other end of the computer screen isn’t real…..with no real feelings, dignity, pride..etc. Too many times I’ve seen people hurt to the point they are crying…because of what one person said, rather “typed” online. Life becomes a lot more tolerable when people step up to realize what they are doing to others …whether online or in person. I personally feel that these people wouldn’t do half of this if they saw these people in person, face to face, and I think that is what is driving youngsters and even adults to start what is called “flame wars” or taunting, teasing, bullying, spreading rumors..about another human being. Technology has replaced the human interaction to the point that it’s basic necessity is severely impacted, and in many cases broken: Acceptance. So..still think that video or picture you posted in the heat of the moment won’t impact you? That the word you called someone, or the taunt you used to ridicule someone with…or the insult you flung, or the harmless rumor you started….won’t hurt you or someone else, because it’s just online? “Social media” …is just that..”social”. Use it with a great deal of common sense, privacy settings, and awareness.