California Gives Teenagers Another Chance

September 25, 2013

I applaud Gov. Jerry Brown who just signed a bill into law that allows children under eighteen to delete their dumb mistakes from their online accounts.

California is the first state to require websites to allow minors to delete their own postings and to clearly inform them how to do so.

Teenagers don’t have the emotional maturity to evaluate the consequences of their online actions and they may carry the stigma of rash postings all the days of their life.

When a company receives a job application, we know that 91 percent of hiring managers who have been surveyed, said that they reject 69% of the applicants based on what they find on the social networking sites. Up until now, those posts have haunted teenagers whenever they’ve looked for a job, especially long after they have passed their teenage years.

Between the inappropriate pictures, their rants about their employers, their postings of their use of alcohol and drugs, and their racial or religious comments, they are deemed undesirable candidates and don’t get invited for an interview.

This new law could eliminate, or at least greatly reduce, the online bullying that is rampant on these sites. One Attorney General has said he will go after anyone who uses the Internet to bully the victim of a crime and he will arrest them. This delete button could have a positive effect on getting rid of such aberrant online behavior that is so common these days.

If adults can’t control their ranting and raving on these social media sites, how can we expect minors to do it. Yet, it’s the minors who seem to suffer the most when they are older.

Take a look at the girls who give their boyfriends racy pictures, believing that they love them and would keep the photos private. And then, months or years later, these naked pictures turn up on the Internet, long after the teenagers have broken up.

It’s easy to see why someone who has just had a fight with a parent or employer would want to vent his or her feelings on the Internet for all the world to read, but until now, there was no delete button to retract what you’ve written after you’ve calmed down.

For now, the minors in California are protected under this new law. Let us hope that they learn their lesson between now and adulthood.

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