We've all heard about online bullying and the dangers of social media sites like Facebook to kids and teenagers. But what you hear less about are how social sites can impact adults.
KHQA's Melissa Shriver shows you why experts say more people should be paranoid before they post.
These days what you post on social media sites can come back to haunt you. You hear of the examples all the time ... even here in the Tri-States.
Last year Schuyler County Sheriff Don Schieferdecker was in the hot seat for an offensive comment about a picture of a co-worker. Following that comment, a statewide civil rights group called for his resignation.
And take the photo of a Knox County, Missouri sheriff's deputy chomping down on a piece of marijuana after a drug bust. He posted it to his Facebook page but later deleted it ... but not until after the image was downloaded and distributed to local media.
"These are just a few examples of how losing sight of the far-reaching effects of Facebook can impact public careers and personal lives with the click of a button," Travis Yates said.
Yates is a social media expert and professor at Quincy University. He says lines of social media are blurred between our personal and professional lives. And while we're forging through uncharted territory online, whether it's online bullying or just comments, the boundaries of what is acceptable is being decided in courts right now.
What are the repercussions of these posts?
"It's been anything from people losing jobs at times, and people are being charged with crimes," Yates said.
Yates says the problem seems to come from people forgetting the "network" in social networks. Right now, social media sites are using your likes, posts, and common friends to actively link you with similar people around the world. What that means for you is this: many more people see your posts and comments than just your immediate friends list.
So before you post ...
"Asking yourself, "would I be comfortable saying this in a room full of people I don't know." If the answer is no ... don't post. Because of Facebook, there is a chance that a lot of people you don't know will see it," Yates said. "We are the danger right now ... in how we impact people and offend people. We're the threat to ourselves and to others."
How often do you ask yourself that question before posting? Join the conversation on our Facebook page here ... just don't post anything that may come back to haunt you.