The Web Doesn't Forget

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We all have different versions of ourselves: home self, work self, school self, parent self and friends self - to list a few. We don’t want home self turning up at work, and parent and friend self don’t usually speak the same language.

We talk and act differently about different things in the different parts of our lives every day, but our online life shows all of our selves at once.

The internet records everything and forgets nothing - every online photo, status update, Twitter post and blog entry by and about you can be stored forever. And as online technology develops, the ability to search for and store information will only improve.

Not many people want a daily reminder of the mistakes they have made, but posting your life on the internet can mean your mistakes and embarrassing moments are on display 24/7.

The wrong post or image can haunt you for a long time - it could affect your job prospects, your future study plans, your travel plans (the internet has made background checks a whole lot easier and more revealing) and even your future relationships.

Once you post comments or images online, they could be there for life.

Even if you delete all the posts you know about, and convince your friends to do the same, you won’t know who else has downloaded what you wrote or what search engine has crawled your site and stored a photo.

You can’t know who else sees your comments and judges you by them, and in most cases you won’t have the chance to explain.

Before you post it online, take a moment to think about whether this is something you want to have out there forever – because it could be there for life.

Picture This...

You've borrowed your brother’s jacket, had a haircut, even shined your shoes. You hope no one from school saw you on the way here – it's not that you don’t want the job, it’s just that you look like a total geek.

When you get into the room, you smile, shake hands, maintain eye contact, thank them for the opportunity to be considered for this role.

As the interviewer pulls out your CV she explains that they do an online search as part of the application process – apparently you agreed to it on the application form you signed – and she has a few items she’d like to discuss.

Right about now, you wish you’d posted more about your volunteering, your enthusiastic participation in team sport and the joys of homework, and less time complaining about public transport, trash-talking your mates and reliving the highlights from parties - and a lot less about girls at school.

You’ve set your Facebook to private, but you have no idea about your mates, and by the look of that wad of paper in front of her, there’s obviously more on you out there than you thought.

Links

Below the Belt: Sex, Selfies & Cyberbullying
A free Android app with info about laws on sex and consent, sexting and cyberbullying.

eSafety
The Australian Government's Esafety site is designed to help empower you to be safe online.

ThinkUKnow
Helpful site full of tips on how to stay in control on the web.

eHeadspace
eheadspace is a confidential, free and secure space where young people 12 - 25 or their family can chat, email or speak on the phone with a qualified youth mental health professional.

Lifeline
If you or someone you know need someone to talk to, for any reason, about anything, you can call Lifeline on 13 11 14 - 24 hours a day.

Kids Helpline - 1800 55 1800
Kids Helpline is a free, 24-hour counselling service for young people aged 5-25 years. Counselling is offered by phone, email and over the web.

Tagged
An Australian film about a group of high-school friends who post a rumour about a rival and spark a chain reaction that leaves no one untouched. Will these friends avoid being tagged forever?

A Thin Line
A US site that helps you draw the line between digital use and digital abuse.

That's Not Cool
An interactive site from the US that’s all about where you draw your digital line.