Mishap mandates prudence on social media

Hayden Cohee, Staff writer

It all arose from boredom. During their regional gathering last month, Model UN delegates, — who grew weary of watching dozens of competitors in Hershey Lodge conference rooms – began to complain through the anonymous social media app Yik Yak.

But the second night of the conference someone went too far. Around 12:30 p.m., Jan. 7, all committees were put on lock-down. After rumors spread, we were notified that a delegate had made a gun threat on Yik Yak.

The head of the program told all 2,000 of us that local, state and federal police were notified. In one hour and 38 minutes they found the alleged perpetrator, and in three minutes, he was in handcuffs, adult organizers said.

Despite this student’s impetuous move, I couldn’t help but feel empathy. What he did was incredibly stupid, but I doubt he was seriously going to shoot up the conference. He reportedly made a flippant post to that effect, and I suspect it was to gain a brief moment of satisfaction, to make a few people laugh. He failed to realize the post could be traced to him.

According to Common Sense Media, 75 percent of American teenagers have profiles on social networking sites. . We have access to more information, social connections and technical tools than any other generation.

But user, beware. The New York Times reported in 2013 that 31 percent of college admissions officers answering a Kaplan Test Prep phone survey reported visiting social media pages of applicants. The Times reported that 30 percent spotted items that harmed those students’ chance of admission.

The Times noted that plenty of colleges don’t do this routinely. Still, the Model UN incident makes one thing clear – digital footprints matter.