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Parents, police speak out about the dangers of social media

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KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) – After a Kalamazoo high school student was suspended this week for a racist post on Snapchat, parents and police are speaking out about the dangers of social media.

Carol Corey and her son Lucas say they are very careful about what ends up on their social media accounts.

“Unfortunately I do know someone who lost a job because of a casual comment they posted on Facebook that was misinterpreted,” said Carol. “Once you put it out there, it’s there, you can’t make it go away.”

Lucas is a senior at Portage Northern High School, he’s deciding which university to attend. He says his teachers routinely warn students that schools and employers are checking social media.

“And sometimes suggest going back and clearing your profile if you’re expecting any big jobs or anything like that,” said Lucas.

Allegan County Sheriff Frank Baker says a lot of his police work has also shifted online.

“One of the things that we see is of people utilizing social media for bullying purposes, stuff that’s inappropriate,” said Sheriff Baker.

The biggest advice Sheriff Baker has for teens is to remember that people are watching.

“Social media is something we even use in our background, when we hire people we look back through their Facebook to see what things they have been posting and what things they have been commenting on,” said Sheriff Baker.

17-year-old Lucas says he feels the pressure.

“It makes me worry, one little slip up and I could really ruin my future,” said Lucas.

The Loy Norrix student posted an apology, saying he meant his post to be just a joke between friends, but Sheriff Baker warns in this social media age, things spread quickly and often have serious consequences.

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