In yesterday’s post, Judith Delaney detailed the legal requirements behind California’s new “erase” law for minors on social media.
Today, I’d like to voice my thoughts about this new instated law.
I think this new erase law hinders more than it helps. Here’s why:
I understand that children today (teenagers included) do not always understand the consequences of their actions when it comes to social media. I understand that they can make mistakes, be “silly” as Judith so elegantly put it, and that we wouldn’t want them to jeopardize their future over a thoughtless second of misjudgment.
However, I also understand that today’s children are our future and that social media is here to stay. By giving these children the right to publish without first thinking and then to erase their “mistakes” without further consequences, do we risk not adequately preparing them for the realities of their future and the severity of their digital actions?
I believe, instead, that it is the parents’ duty to educate and prepare their children. However, since many parents fail at this oh-so-important-task, I also believe that online reputation management should be taught in the schools, right at the age where the child is legally allowed to open up any type of social media account. Since the school system is in place to educate our future professionals, does this not qualify for today’s curriculums?
If we teach our children about the consequences of their actions, show them real-world and scary examples of these consequences and then (gasp) monitor them accordingly, we wouldn’t have to pass laws that allow them to get away with stupidity.
And, as Judith elaborates in her post, this new erase law does not stop others from reposting a post already published, nor does it require that those reposts be removed. Therefore, here we go again with giving a false sense of privacy and security on social media.
The reality is what it is and it is my belief that today’s children need to be taught accordingly. We are, after all, shaping them to be responsible adults. How does allowing them to erase their mistakes without any consequence proceed to achieve that?
This is how I feel about this new California erase law. How do you feel about it?
Author of Crisis Ready: Building an Invincible Brand in an Uncertain World, Melissa Agnes is a leading authority on crisis preparedness, reputation management, and brand protection. Agnes is a coveted keynote speaker, commentator, and advisor to some of today’s leading organizations faced with the greatest risks. Learn more about Melissa and her work here.