Everything you do online lives on in the public sphere, from your LinkedIn bio, to your comments on Facebook, to pictures you are tagged in on Instagram. College admissions officers and future employers will usually search for you online and there are several reports of students being kick out of school and fired for social media.
Watch This Video To Learn 10 Ways People Get Fired On Social Media
Here’s a new social media trend that’s getting kids kicked out of jobs/college:
- Your student may get a great opportunity (example: accepted to college, internship or a job)
- Another student/colleague/acquaintance will see the success and get jealous or disappointed that they didn’t get selected for the opportunity
- That person will then sift through your student’s past social media accounts to find something negative (even if your student is private online, because the other person is usually an accepted follower)
- Then the disgruntled person will surface the negative posts under a new fake account and start tagging others in the posts
- The disgruntled person gets away without harm, because they made an anonymous account (and your student faces the blame)
How do past posts surface?
- Some people don’t get the same opportunities you do, and they get upset
- They might get bitter and go back to look at your past posts
- Some of these examples of being fired for social media are from private posts, others had public profiles
Example #1: Kyler Murray
Hours after winning college football’s most prestigious award, Oklahoma University quarterback Kyler Murray apologized for using offensive language in a series of tweets from his past. When Kyler was 14-15 years old, he tweeted insensitive insults to his friends which affected his future.
Source: USA Today
Example #2: Josh Hader
Josh Hader is a pitcher for the Milwaukee Brewers. During an All-Star Game, Hader’s first as a big leaguer, tweets he sent as a 17-year-old surfaced — messages filled with racist, homophobic sentiments. Josh Hader was ordered to undergo sensitivity training due to his old comments on social media.
Example #3: Josh Allen
Buffalo Bills’ quarterback and top draft prospect Josh Allen had tweets resurface that contained racial slurs and offensive language. He has said that the attention the tweets garnered had a negative impact during the first round of the NFL draft and his family was hurt by them.
Example #4: Michael Kopech
Chicago White Sox pitcher Michael Kopech is the White Sox’s second-ranked prospect and the No. 13 prospect in all of baseball. He recently apologized for negative tweets that he posted when he was 17 which had resurfaced before his major league debut.
Source: Chicago Sun Times
Example #5: Trea Turner
Trea Turner is the Washington Nationals shortstop and when he was 18 he posted offensive comments on social media. His negative social media posts resurfaced and he has since released an apology for his language and behavior.
Example #6: Justine Sacco
Before boarding an international flight, Justine posted an offensive tweet to her feed. By the time she got off her flight and turned on her phone, her tweet had gone viral and was getting attention in the press. She was fired from her job because of the social media post.
Source: The Guardian
Example #7: Caitlin Davis
Caitlin Davis was the youngest cheerleader to ever make an NFL squad when she posted a negative party picture that included offensive imagery and language. She posted the image to social media and was immediately kicked off of the Patriots’ squad.
Example #8: Ben Tracy
Ben Tracy was fired his first day on the job in a prestigious government position after it had been discovered that he posted negative and offensive tweets 5 years before. A former disgruntled employee spent time searching deep into Ben’s Twitter history and took screenshots of his tweets from when Ben was in high school.
The next day, the story of Ben being fired for social media posts was on the front page of the Chicago Sun Times. Ben had to call his parents and grandparents to explain the situation to them so they would hear it from him before the news. He now works with students to help them avoid being fired for social media posts.
Example #9: Harvard kicked out students because of social media
- Harvard University is a private Ivy League research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts, established in 1636, whose history, influence, and wealth have made it one of the world’s most prestigious universities
- Out of 39,506 applicants, only 2,038 (5.4%) were accepted for the class of 2021
How students got kicked out of Harvard because of their behavior on social media:
- Harvard found out about an online group that had incoming freshman in it
- Harvard noticed there were lots of racists posts and ended up rescinding acceptances for at least 10 students over their behavior in the PRIVATE Facebook group
- Harvard took screenshots of the content and revoked their offers
Example #10: Expelled because of Snapchat
Recently a teen damaged their future with a single Snapchat post. Before the post, the student was the star quarterback and he was starting to get recruited. Even though he deleted their original negative Snapchat post, screenshots of the post were circulated throughout the community which resulted in the student being expelled and it drastically decreasing the likelihood of him being recruited by a division 1 program.
Source: Yahoo Sports
Example #11: Expelled because of Instagram
A student found a teacher’s Instagram photo and put it on their page saying that this was the teacher who sent them home. Then, the student talked about how they wanted to harm the teacher (which is considered a criminal threat by the state of California). Though the student had no intention of hurting their teacher, officials wrote a crime report which resulted in the student being expelled.
What can students do?
- Understand the positives and negatives of using social media and the consequences of making mistakes online
- If you’ve made a mistake online, remove the post and apologize immediately (but remember that once something is shared on social media it can be posted elsewhere)
- Use your devices with a purpose as opposed to a pastime. Keep all of your posts Light, Bright & Polite™ and assume your posts will be read by your peers, family, teachers, and future employers
- Reach out to your friends and family when you need to vent via texting, phone calls, or meeting face to face
- Avoid using anonymous apps, instead focus on platforms that help your build a positive online portfolio for future colleges and employers to discover. To find positive social media platforms that can help develop your digital footprint see the Green Zone apps on our Parent App Guide page
- Use social media to highlight school projects, hobbies, passion work, volunteering, or family vacation photos
Next steps to protect your family:
- Schedule a free strategy session
- We build a screen time spreadsheet with your family
- Private portfolio helping your student to have a purpose online
- Give you a big button to press when you are ready to make that portfolio public
- This improves Google search results for colleges & internships
Social media can have a serious impact on your future, something you think may be harmless today can affect your opportunities down the road. When students use social media with a purpose (as opposed to a pastime) they will be more likely to shine online and protect their digital footprint.