Attorney explains real-world consequences of irresponsible online activity

Attorney Karen Haase speaks of the legal dangers associated with irresponsible cyber activity. She warned students about legal repercussions that could impact students and encouraged them to think before they do anything with electronics.

Allegra H.

“If something makes you uncomfortable, don’t do it.” Attorney Karen Haase stated this repeatedly throughout her presentation on responsible online communication on Feb. 25. Haase presented three assemblies in David City High School, one for fifth-eighth graders, another for high school students, and a third for the public to attend in the evening.

Within the high school assembly, Haase shared court cases to show the severity and real-world punishments resulting from inappropriate electronic activity. While Haase’s main focus was cyberbullying through social media, websites, and texts, she also discussed how one simple sext could leave someone on the sex offender’s registry list for years on end.

Originally, a cyberbullying assembly was prompted by a rise in social media problems in DCHS last year, mainly concerning an anonymous sharing app known as Yik Yak.

“The first time we brought it up was in October when we were having some Yik Yak issues,” DCHS Principal Cortney Couch said. “Then, in working with the Butler County Coalition, we became aware of an opportunity to apply for a grant which we could use to bring in a speaker on such a topic.”

Following the assembly, students had the opportunity to ask Haase legal questions concerning their online activity. Haase also provided her contact information to allow students to get in touch with her even after she left DCHS.

Overall, students responded positively to Haase’s assembly, and her lessons left long-lasting impressions on some students concerning their future cyber activity.

“The assembly personally impacted me in more of a shocking way. I didn’t realize just how much trouble you could get into for doing very simple things over the internet,” senior Kylie S. said. “Because of this, I’ve really been watching what I post on my social media and making sure that whatever I say is deemed appropriate before I say it. I don’t want to create a negative image for my current and future self.”

Couch said he hopes that students will apply Haase’s message by reevaluating how they use social media and remembering the dangers of careless electronic activity.

“I would like to see people use social media for spreading encouragement and positive thoughts,” Couch said. “In terms of our students, hopefully they are now armed with some knowledge about how quickly things can go wrong when a person is using social media irresponsibly.”