Tuesday, February 15, 2011

FBWI- Facebooking While Intoxicated


Since it's creation, the discussion and depiction of alcohol has been present in countless photo albums, walls, and groups. This could be due to the fact that Facebook has established itself as a social necessity for the high school and college crowd. And let's face it, this age group wants to talk about drinking. Alcohol is an integral part for most American adolescents living in the modern world. This obsession has inevitably transcended over to the online world, most notably including Facebook. While it may be funny to post embarrassing, yet hilarious pictures and videos of your friends (and of yourself) getting hammered and behaving nonsensically, the consequences of this can be detrimental to both one's reputation and credibility.

I witnessed these consequences firsthand when, in high school, several classmates posted pictures of a weekend party in which copious amounts of alcoholic beverages were present. Included in the album were pictures of fellow students displaying obvious drunkenness and posing with various bottles of vodka and tequila. While the"harmless" photos garnered plenty of comments and tags, it also managed to attract the attention of our high school deans. It seemed to them, the photos were not so funny or harmless. Although the drinking did not take place on school grounds or during school hours, every person tagged in the pictures participating in the "indecent" activities was called in to be questioned and reviewed for disciplinary action. Several of the students involved ended up receiving a number of weeks of detention and/or suspension. Needless to say, the collection of seemingly innocuous photos cost many students their after school freedom as well as their reputation among the faculty. It was argued by many of the accused students that it was unfair for the deans to punish them for activities, however inappropriate, that took place outside school premises and on the students' free time. The response: The display of such indecent and illicit behavior on the students' Facebook profiles is a reflection of the student's character and integrity, as well as a reflection of the school. Additionally, since the behavior portrayed violated the school's student code of conduct, the deans have every right to hold the students in question accountable for their actions.

This example is an increasingly typical one as more and more students are judged and/or punished for their off-campus activities. Not only are they being punished, but many students seeking jobs and internships are also being passed over if they have inappropriate content on their various social network profiles. This comes as a shock to most young members of the social networking sphere because they view the information they share as fun and trivial. Now it seems that one's social network profile can speak volumes about that person's integrity and reputation and have a great effect (whether positive or negative) on their academic and professional standing. The lesson to be learned from this new age of Facebook and other forms of social networking is to be careful what you post because chances are, your friends aren't the only ones looking.

*here are some links to articles I found about this issue.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20202935/

http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2008/01/09/facebook_suspensions/

2 comments:

  1. You bring up a very good point about how the high school administration monitors Facebook. In my high school, students were brought in for questioning not for alcohol but for creating inappropriate groups about teachers and students mothers! Despite Facebook's privacy settings (though they were limited then), schools somehow found these groups and addressed them during school hours.

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  2. A cautionary tale, of a kind we hear more and more about these days. And while it is controversial, you have to be concerned about Facebook profiles being examined by admissions officers and school officials, and potential and actual employers.

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