Don’t be stupid online — and never film yourself having sex

2014-09-12 00:00

“DON’T do stupid things, especially not in front of a camera.”

This in a nutshell, is the sage advice presented by co-authors Emma Sadleir and Tamsyn de Beer in their book Don’t Film Yourself Having Sex.

At the book’s launch in Johannesburg this week, Sadleir — who is an attorney specialising in social media — said the book is not just about how sex tapes can cause digital drama later on. The other chapters explain how to handle cyber bullies, how to protect your child and even give advice to businesses.

Sadleir said the main thing about something embarrassing that gets onto the Internet is that it will stay there forever.

Sadleir said she dedicated the book to one of her clients, whose ex-boyfriend had made a sex video of her without her knowledge. The client said she thought the ex had just started some romantic music on the laptop, meanwhile he was aiming the camera squarely at the bed.

When their relationship ended, the spiteful ex loaded the video on a pornographic website, adding her name, surname and job.

It was only when a friend told her she must Google her herself that she — and her entire family — found out about the video.

She had to change her name, because she could not get away from the video’s many copies.

A woman who had forgotten her cellphone containing nude selfies on the Gautrain found those photos on the Internet. Another woman posted a photo of the clutter on her desk on Facebook, which clearly showed a confidential contract. Others had been dismissed for comments they made on social media platforms in their personal capacity about their jobs.

Sadleir said the solution was simple. You must ask yourself if you would also put whatever you are about to post on a giant billboard, next to your face, name, your parents’ names, where you work and went to school.

Because, she warns, everything on the Internet is just like a tattoo — you never get rid of it entirely.

Golden rules for social media (with

permission from Penguin Random House):

• Don’t film yourself having sex.

• The same laws in the real world apply to the virtual world — don’t break them in either space.

• Even if you didn’t write the original, you are responsible for comments that you share, tweet or like.

• Don’t make jokes about bombs.

• Don’t tweet when you are drunk.

• Your freedom of expression is not without limits. Other humans also have a right to dignity and their good reputations.

• You can be fired if you do not act in good faith towards your employer on the Internet. You can also be suspended from school if you bring your school’s name into disrepute.

• Google yourself to check what appears about you on the Internet.

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