In today’s world, it is easier than ever to contact your friends and family. With the press of a button, text, images, videos and ideas can travel around the world in an instant. Unfortunately, once that button is pressed, you lose control over the content that is sent, and this is where the danger comes in. Many applications like Snapchat, TikTok and even iMessage advertise features that claim your content is only available for a certain amount of time, whether it be a few seconds or a day. The fact is, the minute the content leaves your electronic device, it is available for others to see, and they can do whatever they want with that content. This can include taking a screenshot, recording and saving it, or sending it to people you never intended to send the content to. Even though you thought the content would “live” for a few seconds, it truly can live on forever in the minds of those it reaches, and you never can erase someone’s memory (unless you’re in Men In Black).

You may be thinking to yourself, yeah, but I’m a kid, I’ve heard adults say this before, and nothing bad can come of it. Unfortunately, negative consequences happen more times than you’d think, even having an effect decades down the line that can cause an issue with your job and career. A quick Google search for “people losing jobs over posts in teenage years” shows countless examples of just this scenario, and the thing is, it could happen to anyone.

The next time you go to post something online, or respond to a message, think carefully about what you are sending. Could someone view this and think poorly of you? Could it makes others feel bad about themselves? Do you want people to be able to see it in 10 years, when you’re an adult just starting out in a career? There are so many things to consider.

The message I’m trying to make is simple. Think before you post. Think before you press send. The internet is public, and the internet is permanent. Don’t let it change your life for the negative.