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HR Insights 
 
Welcome to our HR Insights page; here we will post our regular blog, providing an insight into the world of HR ~ whether on a general matter or something more specific that is going on in the news. Please feel free to leave us your comments... 

With reports on the BBC news about a schoolboy getting a criminal record for sending a 'naked selfie', this week we thought we would look at 'The Perils of Social Media'... 
Image downloaded from comicvine.com 
Typically, you can never find these things when you want them, but there is a post that has done the rounds on social media, which resonates with those of us of a certain age. It is the one which goes along the lines of; we all went out and got drunk, did stupid things, swore etc. when we were growing up, we just didn’t have Facebook to serve as a permanent reminder… 
 
It was brought to my mind this evening as I watched on the BBC news, the story about the 14-year old boy who has had a crime recorded against him for sending a naked ‘selfie’ to a girlfriend/’friend who is a girl’, using the media platform – Snapchat. 
For those of you who haven’t come across this as yet, Snapchat is an app that enables users to send pictures of themselves to other users, but which will only appear on the screen at the other end, so to speak, for a maximum of 15 seconds. 
 
In this instance though, the girl who received the picture downloaded it from the app onto her phone within those 15 second and then forwarded it onto others. The girl in this scenario and one other person have also had crimes recorded against them. 
 
Sadly, whilst these individuals have been quite severely punished for their moment of stupidity and hence why it has reached the media on this occasion, they are not alone and it is becoming an increasingly common phenomena for people to act before thinking whilst using social media. For these youngsters, this crime will remain on their records for 10-years and will follow them into adulthood and could potentially impact on their employment prospects. 
 
It’s not just youngsters who are ‘seduced’ by the lure of social media. Who remembers Emma Wray? No, she’s not a celebrity but a [former] solicitor who made the headlines a couple of years ago when she tweeted that she had ‘knocked a cyclist off their bike whilst driving in her car’. It wasn’t something that she had actually done, but for some reason known only to her, she thought it would be funny to tweet this… Of course, she wasn’t laughing for long when she was dismissed from her job. 
 
It is not an ‘urban myth’ that employers (or potential employers) will look into an individual’s social media profile and activity - that really does happen!! For some, it will form an integral part of their recruitment vetting process and they may engage a specialist agency to go into the various social media platforms and do the necessary digging around for them. What they find on there may not necessarily preclude a person from being employed, but it could be off-putting to them. 
 
It doesn’t just stop with the recruitment process; many employers now have in place robust policies surrounding the use of social media. These policies not only deal with employees accessing the platforms during work time, but also enables employers to take action against employees who post inappropriate stuff on them outside of work… 
The employee who posts derogatory comments about their boss and company on social media after a bad day at work; could face disciplinary action if their post(s) are deemed to be damaging to the image/reputation of the organisation… 
And the classic; the employee who calls in sick and then posts pictures of themselves on a shopping spree or in a pub dancing on the tables!! 
Image ~ sites.psu.edu 
Don’t get me wrong; I’m not a Luddite. I do use Facebook on occasion and in fact, most of the half-dozen or so of you who are taking the time to read this blog, will have been made aware of its existence via Twitter… However, the reason for me picking this subject area to get on ‘me soapbox’ about, is to serve as a timely reminder to all about the importance of exercising caution when using social media and to use it responsibly… Remember social media is for life, not just for 30 seconds in the pub!!! 
 
These are just our thoughts; you may or may not agree with them, but what would life be like if there was no debate or discussion into these issues??? 
Image from wat.wikidot.com 
A simple tip to ensure that you don’t get caught out using social media?? The simplest thing you can do is to take the ‘Newspaper’ test – think, before you post; is what you are about to post onto social media, something that you would be happy to have your name assigned to on the front page of the Times or the Guardian? If not; then the simple answer is ‘don’t post it’!!! 
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