Privacy Law Protects Future

Can you imagine not being accepted to your dream school because of one thoughtless social media post? Well, plenty of students have suffered the disappointing feeling. Thanks to a new law passed by Governor Larry Hogan on May 12, students in Maryland will not have to worry about social media when applying to in-state schools.
Starting June 1, Maryland colleges may not require access to students’ private social media accounts or accounts that cannot be viewed by the public, thus protecting students’ privacy and even allowing them to sue schools for breaking any laws or invading their privacy. However, those whose accounts are not private can still be vulnerable. Universities may access public accounts and receive information from other sources.
Maryland has already passed laws of this sort; it was the first state to protect the privacy on social media for employees and people applying for jobs. This means that employers may not request access to private accounts. Maryland is the 13th state to pass the law for colleges; other states include Arkansas, California, Delaware, Michigan, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Illinois, and Utah.
In Michigan and Illinois, this law also applies to K-12 students. There is hope for a change in Maryland. Students in K-12 need their privacy. Personal social media should stay separate from the school environment, especially in the case of private schools which require applications for entry. This can affect a student who might be smart or skilled enough for a school but could be considered a “bad” student from a few Instagram posts, Facebook updates or tweets.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 78 percent of children ages 12 to 17 own a cell phone, and most teens without them have other devices that can access social media. Each spends an average of seven and half hours a day on their phones. Much of this time is spent on social media, talking to others online and posting pictures or tweeting about what they are doing. The more students post, the more careless posts get.
Students do not always think through how each thing they post will affect their future or how what they are doing now could shine a negative light on them later. They should not be punished for old photos they may have forgotten about or careless decisions they have learned and moved on from. Rather they should learn from their mistakes and get to show the better people they have become.