Using Social Media on Campus
It is well known that today’s younger generations use electronic devices and social media much more than any previous generation. Pictures, thoughts and interactions online are part of daily routines. It has become a way of life, and many students cannot imagine their social interactions without it. In fact, because of its prevalence among college students, professors have even tailored their lessons around it, successfully integrating social media into their teachings.
With so much freedom in the online community, social media has also seen a rise in criminal offenses. Students may feel protected behind a screen and say o r do things that they normally wouldn’t. There is a misconception that online interactions are completely separated from physical interactions, and some students may not be aware they are committing a crime while others just don’t think they will be caught.
There are legal limitations to online interactions, and the following social media related cyber crimes could end with large fines, required community service, or even jail time:
- Cyber Bullying and Threats
Cyber bullying is the most commonly reported crime on social media. Disagreements can sometimes lead to escalated verbal interaction that can include threats, harassing or stalking from one or multiple users. All of these are considered cyber bullying and can carry criminal charges along with school discipline.
- Fraud and Hacking
Friends commonly seize opportunities to “hack” an open social media account and post silly or embarrassing things. There is generally no harm done and the action is forgiven. If the action was done maliciously and the wronged party feels embarrassed and stigmatized, this simple act could be considered a crime. Criminal convictions can also occur if a student tries to impersonate another student on social media, uses a fake account to deceive people, or otherwise tries to trick people into giving money, objects or information.
- Illegal Purchases
Social media sites can be used to buy or sell illicit substances because they are such powerful tools to connect people from all walks of life. It is illegal to partake in any activity online that is illegal in person.
How Can Social Media Affect Me on Campus?
Some social media interactions are criminal offenses and will be handled by not only the school administrative panel, but by local law enforcement. The two will work together against the student to administer discipline within the college and criminal conviction in the courts. Students should consult their school’s code of conduct to know what is considered a social media crime by their college and what disciplinary actions will be taken.
Manchester & Associates Defense
Contact Manchester & Associates today for help if you have been accused of a social media crime. An attorney can help the student step though the process and protect their rights.