There are no secrets online. This proves especially tricky for people who like to play adult behind the scenes, like teenagers. As our digital and actual lives meet, teens are finding they are getting into trouble for their online behaviors and schools are the ones pulling the government in. Before the Internet, kids had more room to get away with their unruly fun--photographic evidence wasn't a click away. Now kids perform their parent-unapproved badassery, put up photo evidence using some "privacy settings," and get caught by none other than their school administrators. The digital age is redefining just how far into students' private online lives schools can go to get kids in trouble.
Not everything on the Internet is fair game for school administrators, yet. Today a Federal judge ruled that if students want to post racy photos of themselves on the Internet, there's nothing a school can do about it, reports the Associated Press. "An Indiana school district violated the First Amendment rights of two teenage girls who were punished for posting sexually suggestive photos on MySpace during their summer vacation, a federal judge ruled." The school had found the sophomore girls' raunchy MySpace photos and banned them from extracurricular activities. Gizmodo's Kat Hannaford put it well: "If a student chooses to represent his/herself as a whorebag, that's no business of their school." So teens, you want to do something somewhat embarrassing online, go right ahead--it just has to be legal.