NORFOLK, NE — It’s fact, most of us love social media and the devices to go along with it.
Especially in young kids, social media gives us them that bit of freedom to upload whatever they want, or so they think.
“Kids don’t think of consequences of their actions a lot of their time.” says Attorney Karen Haase.
Haase was at the Johnny Carson Theatre Wednesday to discuss legal issues related to students’ use of social media. She uses humor, statistics, & summaries of real life cases to get her point across.
“What I am hoping is that by telling them the legal consequences they could face, they wil think about it (their actions) or have that common vocabulary to talk about it.”
Haas explained to students the significant consequences attached to the inappropriate use of social media such as Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat. Some of those students have even faced criminal charges.
“We have criminal charges where kid are charged with making terroristic threats and that’s extremely common. There has been a 205% increase against minors in Nebraska in the last 15 years.”
While that may be a staggering statistic for a felony charge, Haase says she has dealt with worse.
“We’ve had kids placed on the sex offender register list. The youngest student in the state of Nebraska, that I’m aware of was placed on the list when he was 10.”
With kids getting their hands on these devices at younger age each year, it gives them a chance to interact with people online and potential make poor decisions. Haase has seen a lot of cyberbullying and inappropriate behavior among young kids. She attributes that to something she call “modeling up.”
“The High School kids model after what they think the college kids are doing and Junior High kids model what they think High School kids are doing etc. As a result we have brought sexualized behavior down through the age group.”
While students may be ignorant to the severity of the consequences of their actions, parents are too. Haase says she encourages parents to get online.
“Open up your kids phone and see what apps they are using. That’s value neutral, that’s either good or bad. Whatever app your kid has, download it, and use it and follow your kid.”
Haase also spoke to the teachers about making good choices as teachers that they can pass along to their students.