FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
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Local opinion columnists

Careful what you say; be more careful what you post

By From page A8 | April 26, 2014

Why is it so hard for grown folks to control their mouths?

Offering that old-school advice to watch your mouth seems a lot easier said than done. We live in an environment where what comes out of your mouth is not as dangerous as what comes through your computer, tablet or cellphone. Social media outlets have been the vehicles that have caused many to regret what they post.

Another lesson on appropriate language for the youth generation.

To put it simply, a person can flat-out deny or change what they said if it was damaging or incriminating. However, anything you say, write or post on a social network, computer or cellphone is a permanent record that can be retrieved. Every week, we hear about someone being fired or getting in trouble for posting something stupid or ill-advised on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Recently, a local guy posted a picture of his paycheck with a wise crack about how cheap the company he works for is.

Well, he doesn’t have that problem anymore, because he was fired for publicly defaming the company.

How many relationships have been damaged by someone texting inappropriate messages? There is an increase of criminal cases filed against people for sending explicit pictures with their cellphones. During a recent Youth Life Skills session, a law-enforcement speaker talked about how easy it is to be charged with possessing child pornography by simply receiving a nude picture from someone under 18. If you were to forward the picture to one or more people, then you will receive another charge of distributing child pornography. Both are felonies and could result in the perpetrator having to register as a sex offender.

Are we abusing the First Amendment? The right to freedom of speech allows individuals to express themselves without interference or constraint by the government. The Supreme Court requires the government or anyone to provide substantial justification for the interference with the right of free speech.

A less-stringent test is applied for content-neutral legislation. The Supreme Court has recognized that the government may prohibit some speech that may cause a breach of the peace or cause violence. The right to free speech includes other mediums of expression that communicate a message.

This is my constant struggle with the youth and pop culture. When we question the appropriate use of language in certain environments, they bring up the First Amendment. Have we no responsibility for every word that leaves our mouth?

There is an array of old cliches that apply: “Loose lips, sink ships,” “Taste your words before you spit them out” and “Don’t let your mouth write a check that your behind can’t cash.” Common courteously and respect should transcend even constitutional law.

In other words, just because you are allowed to say certain things doesn’t mean you should. I have relatives who use profanity constantly, regardless of who is present. It would make no difference to them if we were at an afterhours nightclub or a child’s first birthday party, the language is just as foul.

Whether it is delivered verbally, in writing, through a social network site or smartphone, our language has become so loose that we can no longer discern what is appropriate and what is not.

Deon D. Price is an author and youth life skills coach who lives in Fairfield. Reach him at [email protected] or follow him at www.twitter.com/youthgeneration.

Deon Price

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Discussion | 6 comments

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  • archieApril 26, 2014 - 6:08 am

    nice article Deon, thanks!

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  • CD BrooksApril 26, 2014 - 7:38 am

    Deon could not agree more but I’d like to add another perspective. KGO radio’s Ronn Owens used to say “once you say it, it’s out there and you can’t take it back.” No truer words were ever spoken especially in today’s technological world! The word most often forgotten and certainly rarely practiced is respect. You will never hear me cuss around my grand children, people I've just met, women and people of faith. Yes, I talk a lot of crap about religion but I respect your right to practice it and knowing you feel that way, and because I am a gentleman I will avoid using that language around you. It isn't as difficult as it is disgusting that so many people have no idea how bad it sounds and how bad it makes them look. Cool is okay. Respect is even better. Try it, you might be surprised at how well it looks on you! :)

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  • BobApril 26, 2014 - 7:50 am

    I couldn't agree more, even with the two commenters I disagree with on occasion I miss respect, I try to be polite to everyone no matter how we meet but some people don't understand what you are doing and translate being polite with weakness, Please greet with a smile and if you can't say anything nice, please don't say anything at all Thank you

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  • Rich GiddensApril 26, 2014 - 8:39 am

    Sounds to me like the US Constitution is dead and tyranny reigns. And Deon or whatever his name is likes it that way.

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  • FDCApril 26, 2014 - 8:47 am

    IBM once had a saying posted on the walls of many of their offices: "Words once spoken are like bullets once fired; they cannot be recalled." Same now applies to written words. Think, think, think before you let 'em go.

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  • patrickApril 26, 2014 - 12:17 pm

    DEON the only way to get respect is to give respect----good article

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