Teaching teens the impact of social media

PHOENIX (FOX 10) -- Just hours after taking home the 2018 Heisman Trophy, college football player Kyler Murray had to apologize, amidst mounting controversy over his past tweets.

Murray, 21, apologized for homophobic tweets he posted when he was a 14-year-old, and he has now joined a list of other prominent athletes and celebrities who are learning that what people post online, will most certainly come back to haunt them at a later point in life, especially once they become famous. It is a lesson that some experts and even school districts are hoping to teach the younger generation.

"Your digital footprint is permanent, so even though it may seem temporary, it lasts a really long time," said Katey McPherson. She travels the country to talk about the consequences of social media. On Monday night, her conversation at Mountain Pointe High School, located in the Ahwatukee area of Phoenix, made students think.

"I think it's kind of funny that someone can post something from 2003, and people can go find it and dig deep," said Godelive Sadiki. "I don't think it's fair, I think people change over time and grow. We all make mistakes."

"I thank God every day that there's not a digital record of things I did in high school and college," said social media expert Scott Walker.

The rise in social media use among teens opens the door for a legacy online that's not so flattering.

"Once you hit that send button, it's out there," said Walker. "If it's not something your mom would be okay with, your grandma would be okay with, if it doesn't pass the sight test, then it's probably not worth hitting send on."

"I try not to say dumb stuff on social media, because it will always come back to you," said Sadiki.

Experts say spending time in the classroom on the do's and don'ts of posting online can go a long way to a life without controversy on social media.

"We're not preparing them 100% in schools for social media, and a lot of people - administrators, staff - just don't know what they are doing, and they don't know how to get started," said Walker.