THINK before hitting “˜send”™

This may come as a shock to those under 30, but many of us older adults feel lucky we attended elementary and high school without the constant distraction of smart phones and social media.

Such technological advances do have their advantages, but let’s be honest, in the hands of some teenagers (and those even younger), they can be an absolute disaster.

Needless to say, we have zero sympathy for the online trolls and predators looking to take advantage of unsuspecting and all-too-trusting youths. But with proper communication and a little education, a lot of the headaches and life-altering problems that result from texts, postings and other online communications can be avoided.

That’s why we were happy to see an OPP officer talk to local high school students and their parents last week about online safety and the possible dangers of social media (see article on page 2).

We’d like to see such educational opportunities offered to younger students, but this is a great initiative nonetheless. Kids, teenagers and young adults need to be aware that once they hit “send,” it’s all over. Whatever they send is out there. Forever. Out of their control.

Some students may have rolled their eyes at the OPP warnings and  advice, but we can not stress enough the importance of that message. The repercussions of online actions include possible criminal charges and a permanent stain on one’s personal record and reputation – or worse.

Youths must always remember,  and parents must always remind them, to “THINK” about what they’re sending. Is it true? Is it hurtful? Is it illegal? Is it necessary? Is it kind?

In some ways, their entire future could depend on it.