By: Stephen J Smith
If you’re new to this site — Welcome to A Wired Family Magazine.
Our site is a reflection of our desire to help families navigate the rich and sometimes rocky landscape of technology and social media. We have spent the last six years traveling to hundreds of schools, business, churches, colleges and other organizations trying to help our communities better manage and monitor their family’s online presence. We hope you find this information of value. And if you do, we only ask that you share it with your friend and neighbors.
This year, our theme is THE DIGITAL TATTOO.
If you look around the pool, the office or your gym, you’ll notice more and more American s are sporting tattoos.
In fact, Pew Research reported in December 2013, that
40% of Americans between the age of 26 and 40 now have tattoos.
It’s exploded into a $1.7 billion dollar industry.
As we know, tattoos are generally a decision that is permanent – and 17% of the population now regret the decision – and another 11% are making a decision to go through the painful process of getting them removed.
So what do tattoos have to do with social media and technology? I’ll explain.
Over the last year you may have heard commentary concerning the digital tattoo.
While there are projects underway through fitness monitoring developers such as Fitbit to produce tattoos that can actually monitor your fitness by running off of your body’s electro-chemical energy…
Our digital tattoo doesn’t involve ink – but, much like a face tattoo it can hurt your education or career opportunities.
Remember that tattoo of the Spice Girls or Hanson that you had etched onto your skin during spring break 20 years ago, you too might regret the decision? While some might question your choice of music groups from the 90’s – unless it’s tattooed on your forehead, I doubt it will limit your career or education opportunities.
Sadly, this is generally not true when you make a mistake on social media.
And just like spring break tattoos, “digital tattoos” through social media mistakes are often made at the speed of thought by young people not understanding the permanency or consequences of their actions.
A decision by an adult for a tattoo seldom has consequences. A decision to post an inappropriate photo, video or hurtful words on social media – by anyone – can have enormous, permanent, indelible consequences.
We might all recall the sad story concerning the killing of a gorilla at the Cincinnati Zoo several months ago after a child left his mother’s side and fell into the gorilla enclosure.
The mother was viciously attacked on social media by many in the public who spewed their venom and racist comments across the globe.
Many discovered that their public invective could easily be tracked back directly to them. They in effect had left a digital tattoo through social media that exposed their true character through their social media accounts. Some lost their jobs, friends and perhaps their standing in the community.
We must teach our children that every word, picture, and even the likes, dislikes and other selected emoticons are part of their digital tattoo.
And much like getting a face tattoo – there are consequences for such permanent decisions.
About Stephen J Smith