Leavers warned over photos

Phoebe Wearne, Natalie Brown and Daniel Emerson

School leavers are being warned that graphic and inappropriate photos posted on Facebook and other social media sites could haunt them throughout their professional lives.

The warnings came as Police Minister Liza Harvey and Education Minister Peter Collier condemned a popular Facebook page called WA Leavers Embarrassing Moments, which encourages leavers to post embarrassing pictures of their antics.

Reports have surfaced of drunken antics being posted on social media, including a photo shared on Instagram of a girl who had been tied up and forced to drink alcohol.

Teenagers on Rottnest Island have told of how social media is being used as a platform to boast about how much alcohol they had smuggled on to the island.

Ms Harvey said leavers could find themselves "unemployable" because of what they did during leavers' celebrations and photos that were posted online.

"Regardless of whether it's leavers or not, that image is there for ever and it can affect your life for ever," Ms Harvey said.

Mr Collier said many leavers had good values but let their guard down for the occasion, becoming inebriated and making decisions they would "regret for the rest of their lives".

Social media expert Tama Leaver said photos on Facebook were accompanied with teenagers' real names and could be found by anyone who looked for them long after leavers' celebrations. Dr Leaver, a lecturer in internet studies at Curtin University, said photographs could be taken down by those who featured them, but the photos often lived on because people had posted them elsewhere.

He said employers were increasingly doing internet searches on job candidates and they could easily be put off by embarrassing material found online.

"Things on the internet don't date, so if in four years you've got your bachelors degree and you're going for a job in a professional workplace, the images will still be there and still be linked to your name," Dr Leaver said.

Rottnest Sgt Ross Eastman said teenagers partying on the island needed to look out for each other when using social media.

"If you find yourself in a situation where you're intoxicated, hopefully your friends will do the right thing," Sgt Eastman said.

As of last night, police had evicted 35 adult "toolies" who had tried to join leavers' celebrations.

Sgt Eastman said officers had foiled attempts by those not affiliated with official events to create fake leavers wristbands.

'That image is there for ever and it can affect your life for ever.'"Police Minister *Liza Harvey *