The Internet is a place of wonder. Information travels through Wi-Fi networks faster than one can even process a simple thought. Similarly, the Internet can be a dangerous and unforgiving place. There are times when photos posted have kept people from being hired for their dream jobs and have tattooed a stereotype to the person that may never go away.
Is there a way we can all avoid this from happening to us?
There is. Sort of.
A bill was recently passed by Governor Jerry Brown involving the protection of California’s youth. Gov. Brown has granted the mindless minors of California the gift of a second chance, so to speak.
According to CNN, the newly passed bill’s intent is to require all websites, online services and mobile apps to have the option for registered California minors to delete any information they posted and shouldn’t have. This service has been given many slang terms, such as the “erase button” or the “oops button.”
According to senior Matthew Bowman, the law is very effective for “minors who are unaware of their actions that could be very detrimental to their future.”
However, the new law lacks clarity in some areas.
Computer Science Professor Chan-Shyh Peng, who has a doctorate degree, said there is “absolutely no way” to completely erase a photo from the Internet’s memory.
Peng was far from impressed by this law.
“How would they even enforce it?” Peng said. “For example, Google has their data sent all over the world. They do not have to go by the California laws. I don’t see how this can be enforced.”
These are important questions that are left unanswered. If this new law is to make a lasting impact, more attention needs to be placed on how it will be enforced, specifically beyond the California border.
The terms “naïve” and “children” go hand in hand. However, adults and so called “protectors” of our underage citizens need to wake up and realize what type of world we live in nowadays.
It is essentially run from behind a computer, iPhone and tablet screen. This could be detrimental to our society as a whole if not watched closely.
Maybe Mark Zuckerberg and his buddies are to blame.
Facebook has proven to be a “must” for the average American teen. According to mashable.com, 94 percent of teens from the ages of 12-17 own Facebook accounts, 26 percent own Twitter accounts and 11 percent own Instagram accounts. While Facebook is still the top dog for networking one’s life, Google Plus, MySpace, LinkedIn and YouTube are close behind.
While this law protects the image of children under the age of 18, why does it ignore the rest of California’s population that may be suffering the same hardship?
One reason could be the fact that adults should understand the repercussions involved by posting unflattering and haunting images of ourselves for the world to judge. However, some people are not technologically savvy and may accidentally post something to a public site unknowingly. Generation X is not known for their understanding of technology. They barely grew up using the gizmos and gadgets that Generation Y and Z are presented with today.
Peng thought the law should apply to everyone.
“I agree, as the user, we should have the choice of deleting what we posted on a permanent basis. I agree with the principle of the law,” Peng said.
We should all have the option of taking down pictures that we regret. No company wants to see its potential employee chugging beer from a plastic boot at a county fair, just like you would not want to see your current boyfriend or girlfriend kissing their ex in front of the Eiffel Tower on a past vacation.
Bottom line: if it is going to affect you in the long run, do not post it. Be smart, not casual. Be professional, not childish. The Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and Twitter pictures will always be floating around.
Published Oct. 9, 2013