Today I’d like to tell you all a story. It’s a classic tale really. There are cops and robbers, a jail break and a drawn out manhunt.
Basically, it’s everything you could ask for in a mediocre PG-13 movie.
This story revolves around a misguided fellow who goes by the name Craig Lynch. You see, Lynch was serving a 7-year sentence in Great Britain’s Hollesley Bay open prison for aggravated robbery when he decided that he didn’t like jail all that much and he needed to escape.
And escape he did. One day Lynch disappeared, baffling authorities and intriguing people around the world. The story gets more odd however. Wanting to make sure that the masses knew the feat that he’d just accomplished, Lynch started posting pictures of himself mocking police via Facebook.
After spending Christmas and New Years with friends and female “acquaintances,” Craig “Lazie” Lynch was finally re-apprehended by police on Jan. 13 and appeared in court the same morning. Lynch was charged with escaping from lawful custody according to the U.K. newspaper The Times. Though this bizarre tale happened thousands of miles away it seems that the St. Thomas student body might be able to learn a thing or two from the unfathomable fable of Craig “Lazie” Lynch. The message is simple; not everything you do needs to be on your Facebook page.
While Lynch is an extreme example of full disclosure gone wild, his story should serve as a warning to those who feel it’s better to have hundreds of strangers looking at pictures of you and your friends doing body shots off of each other than to filter out some of those strangers you’re friends with on Facebook.
When fun is ensuing, it’s almost inevitable that some trigger-happy friend is going to pull out a camera. While we’ve all gotten lost in the moment more than a few times in our lives, once we return to reality it’s time to un-tag yourself in some of those photos and maybe even just ask your friend to take them down.
People are watching. Friends, strangers, family members and even potential bosses can all see what you did Thursday night when you were supposed to be studying, they can see your Friday night endeavors when you “just needed to cut loose” and can also view your Saturday antics when you and your friends decided to start drinking at 1 p.m. because “Um… well… who cares? It’s Saturday!”
Please note that I’m not suggesting you go full-on Chinese government on your Facebook page. It’s there so friends and family can see what you’re up to and stay in touch. Giving insight into your life isn’t necessarily a bad thing. We just have to filter life a little bit when it comes to the Internet. The simple rule of thumb would be if you think whatever you’re about to post would be embarrassing if your parents saw it, don’t post it.
Just imagine yourself explaining these situations to your parents…
Mom: “Um dear, just curious, but ah… what’s this picture of you passed out with obscenities written across your forehead all about?”
Or something like Dad: “Oh hey sweetheart, I just saw that your spring break photos got 38 comments! Oh and one boy said that he found the swimsuit top you were looking for.”
The bottom line is that young people struggle to get people to treat us like adults and give us our independence. Once we achieve actual adulthood however, it seems we quickly forget that there are rules to this game and some things will do more harm than good for us and our futures if we lay them out there for the world to see.
So please fellow college students, lets take a lesson from Craig “Lazie” Lynch and think before you post. It doesn’t seem like much, but it’s a common courtesy we owe to ourselves and the people who care about us.
Ben Katzner can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org