Computer crimes investigator tells students to be careful when posting online
Inappropriate social media posts and photos can come back to haunt students even if they think their profiles are set to private and the messages are deleted, a state police investigator recently explained to Gloversville students.
Investigator William Martin of the State Police Computer Crime Unit was a special guest speaker at Gloversville High School Thursday, Jan. 5. He spoke with eighth and ninth graders about sexting, online safety, cyberbullying and more.
“Pay close attention to what you’re putting out on the internet,” Martin said, noting that even deleted content can be recovered and reposted. “These things don’t go away.”
Martin illustrated his discussion by giving examples of real situations where social media posts ended up being seen by hiring managers, college admission counselors and police investigators.
Martin said it’s a growing trend for colleges and employers to view applicants’ social media accounts. Inappropriate content, such as violence and underage drinking, can often result in being turned away by a college or turned down for job. Sexting – the sending of sexually explicit photographs or messages via cell phone – can result in criminal charges for youths even if the photos are of themselves, he cautioned.
In general, Martin said, if you wouldn’t want your grandmother to see it then you probably shouldn’t post it online.
Students also need to be mindful when playing online games with people they don’t know. Martin said sexual predators use online games to establish relationships with teens and gain their trust.
The investigator also talked out cyberbullying and online harassment, explaining that threatening people online is a criminal offense. He encouraged students to report online bullying when they see it.
“If you know something is going on you need to say something,” he said.
Caption: Inv. Martin poses as a teen taking a selfie during his discussion concerning online behavior.