(Yes, YOU)

Fairlady - - CONTENTS - By Liesl Robert­son

‘Dig­i­tal con­tent is dan­ger­ous con­tent.’ That is the take-home mes­sage you’ll find in so­cial me­dia le­gal ex­pert Emma Sadleir and med­i­cal doc­tor Lizzie Har­ri­son’s book, Self­ies, Sexts and Smart­phones: A Teenager’s On­line

Sur­vival Guide. Yes, we know, the book is aimed at teenagers. But even if you’re not spend­ing your time tak­ing duck-lipped self­ies or liv­ing your life one In­sta­gram story at a time, ad­mit it: you’re prob­a­bly just as at­tached to your smart­phone as any teenager.

You’re prob­a­bly think­ing, ‘Well, this still doesn’t ap­ply to me; I would never post some­thing con­tro­ver­sial or in­ap­pro­pri­ate on Face­book, and I’m not even on Twit­ter.’ But even seem­ingly harm­less ac­tiv­i­ties like post­ing or ‘lik­ing’ an ar­ti­cle on Face­book, or tak­ing pho­tos on your phone can have reper­cus­sions in the long run.

And what you may not re­alise is that What­sApp is also a so­cial me­dia plat­form – any­thing you send, or that’s sent to you, can get you into trou­ble.

‘Screen­shots get ev­ery­one into trou­ble,’ writes Emma. ‘In fact, just about ev­ery case that lands up on our desks is there be­cause of a screen­shot.’

In one case, Emma was ap­proached by a girl in ma­tric who was ex­pelled just days be­fore her fi­nal ex­ams. Her crime? Send­ing a What­sApp to friends.

‘Her “friend” had taken a screen­shot of an in­ap­pro­pri­ate com­ment this girl had made to her on What­sApp, then posted it on the class What­sApp group. There was noth­ing we could do to help her. Once the con­tent ex­ists dig­i­tally, it can come back to bite you.’

Photo ev­i­dence

Even if you don’t send any­one the con­tent on your phone, it can be used against you. Ac­cord­ing to stats by KeyPoint In­tel­li­gence, about 1,2 tril­lion pics were taken glob­ally last year – and 85% of them were taken on phones.

Re­mem­ber when those nude pic­tures of Jen­nifer Lawrence were leaked on­line? Well, did you know that she’d never sent them to any­one? She’d taken a few nude self­ies with her phone and deleted them mo­ments later. Harm­less right? Nope.

‘Un­for­tu­nately for J-Law, even though some of those pho­tos had ex­isted only on her phone for a mat­ter of sec­onds be­fore she “deleted” them, they had al­ready been backed up to her iCloud,’ writes Emma. ‘This meant that when her iCloud was hacked, the hack­ers were able to ac­cess all of those nudes and dis­trib­ute them far and wide… It wasn’t send­ing or post­ing the pics that caught her – it was sim­ply the fact that they ex­isted in a dig­i­tal for­mat!’

While we’re on the topic of sexy pics, did you know that your un­der-18 daugh­ter could get into le­gal trou­ble for send­ing nude self­ies to her boyfriend? She’s es­sen­tially cre­at­ing and dis­tribut­ing child pornog­ra­phy – even though the pho­tos are of her­self. ‘Cre­at­ing and dis­tribut­ing child pornog­ra­phy are two of the most se­ri­ous of­fences, and chil­dren all over the world are be­ing charged with them,’ writes Emma.

And if your daugh­ter’s boyfriend for­wards that pic­ture to a friend (be­sides the fact that he’s vi­o­lat­ing her pri­vacy), he’s also guilty of dis­tribut­ing child pornog­ra­phy, as is his friend for hav­ing it in his pos­ses­sion. Or maybe your teenage son shows his friend a porno­graphic pic­ture on his phone – if that friend is a mi­nor, your son is com­mit­ting a crime. ‘You can be ar­rested and pros­e­cuted for this crime from the age of 14, maybe even younger,’ says Emma.

Le­gal trou­ble

Any­thing you ‘pub­lish’ can come back to haunt you. ‘Scar­ily, in the eyes of the law, the stuff you quick­fire post or mes­sage is con­sid­ered to be ex­actly the same as some­thing that is pub­lished in a news­pa­per, mag­a­zine or book, be­cause all of these plat­forms are pub­lic and per­ma­nent,’ writes Emma.

‘Sadly, the news gets even worse, be­cause… What­sApp is also

What you may not re­alise is that What­sApp is also a so­cial me­dia plat­form – any­thing you send, or that’s sent to you, can get you into trou­ble.

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