It used to be that if you made a stupid decision when you were younger you got in trouble, you apologized, you learned from your mistake and everyone moved on. Unfortunately, this is no longer the case. Now if you do something stupid, it ends up on the Internet and if you’re unlucky enough to have you’re name attached to it, you’re permanently branded for the rest of your life… Constantly in fear that when someone Googles you they’ll find this embarrassing tidbit from your past.
I’m not talking about big things that may well deserve to be attached to your name forever — I’m talking about things like lighting off fireworks in the parking lot of your school and getting some trumped up attempted arson charge. Posting something dumb on Twitter and having it retweeted a ton of times while you’re asleep and suddenly you wake up and you’re infamous for something taken completely out of context or for something maybe you shouldn’t have written to begin with, but you were in a half asleep daze and it was only meant for your 75 followers. Or worse yet, you send an email to a friend privately and he forwards it along and suddenly it’s out in the public. In today’s Internet age, it’s easier to screw up your life. Even something meant to be private can very easily become public. Most people still don’t truly understand this until it’s too late.
(As a quick aside, there is something to be said for giving people second chances and believing that people can learn from their past mistakes, no matter how serious, but that’s a conversation for another time.)