How many times must we say it? Think before you post. It’s a great avenue that allows freedom of expression yes, but let’s not forget that the Web is a two-way street: On the other side of your no holds barred Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram spree, your employers have the freedom to express their discontent by promptly firing you.
And surprise, making fun of other people’s kids on Instagram is definitely going too far, especially if you work in a daycare center. According to a news report, an employee of the Heavenly Haven Childcare Center in Newport News, Virginia posted two Instagrams that featured two of the kids she was supposed to be caring for – both of them poking fun at the expense of the unsuspecting children. She has since deleted her Instagram account and was fired from her job, along with another employee who was caught commenting on the offending photos.
In another sordid tale of Instagram misuse, a physician is being accused of taking and posting photos of a student who’d been admitted after drinking too much. You stay classy, doc.
Instagram is a great way to live vicariously through others– you get to see the exciting things your friends do on a daily basis and you virtually visit places you never thought you’d see. But no matter how random or trivial or seemingly ordinary a lot of the posts on your feed are, there are places and situations you shouldn’t glorify or brag about on the media-sharing app because it’s gross, disrespectful, and sometimes even borderline illegal.
None of this should have to be said. But here we are. (Sigh.)
1. The courthouse (when it’s in session)
I don’t care how cool-looking the rows of benches are or how sexy the prosecutor looks. If your Instagram contacts aren’t in there with you in person, then they have no business seeing what’s going on within the private walls of a courtroom. Besides, depending on the mood or social media tolerance of the judge, you can easily be held in contempt. (Side note: You definitely can’t Instagram within the walls of a jail cell.)
2. The gym
We don’t need your sweaty selfie to know that you are killing it in Zumba class, so if you can, skip it. Also, unless you have explicit permission to do so, don’t be a jerk by taking candid shots of people at the gym. Nobody needs the added stress of having to worry about their body image on Instagram, where the whole world can judge them.
3. Public bathrooms
No matter what universe you are in, photos taken in the john are never a good idea. Mirror pics cease to be cute (were they ever cute?) when you’ve got a line of urinals in the background. Let me reiterate: Bathroom selfies are the worst. Unless it’s to take photos of a truly original and one-of-a-kind setup where champagne in fancy flutes are served to you by attendants so you can enjoy a drink while relieving yourself in a clear-glass toilet that has an earphone jack so you can listen to Kenny G, just stop. Just make sure there are no cameos made by unwitting have-to-goers.
4. Church (or any religious service)
Thou shalt not post an Instagram photo during homily with the hashtag #SundayBest. It’s terribly disrespectful, and the fact that you need an article roundup to tell you that is just sad. The only time this would be OK is if you’re attending a friend’s wedding, provided that the couple gave you (and their guests) permission to preempt the professional wedding photographers they hired to cover the event with your own low-quality, filter-slapped documentation. Otherwise, your phone should be turned off anyway.
5. Movie theaters
C’mon, don’t be the jackass that every serious movie-goer hates – the one with your phone out, taking pictures of pictures on the screen. Nobody wants to see that on Instagram – that’s what official movie websites are for. Also, we don’t care how big of a Matt Damon fan you are – there’s no need for an Instagram video clip of Elysium. Not only does it take away a lot of the cinematic quality, it’s also straight up illegal to tape footage of a film, you pirate.
Please do not be a creepy weirdo, taking photos of random kids playing when none of them is your own. There’s just no reason to (unless you’re good friends with their parents and they gave you a go-ahead to click-and-shoot away). Learn from the aforementioned daycare workers’ mistake: Underage kids are off-limits and seriously unwelcome on Instagram (or any social media site, for that matter).