Hate speech on social media: Future fallout for teens and famili - New York News

Hate speech on social media: Future fallout for teens and families?

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Tanner Flake Tanner Flake
PHOENIX -

His racist and homophobic comments angered a lot of people. The teenage son of Arizona Senator Jeff Flake has exposed a growing problem -- hate speech on social media.

We told you about the racist and homophobic comments from Senator Jeff Flake's son earlier this week, but the story keeps growing. First, more hateful remarks uncovered -- then civil rights leaders asking for a face to face meeting.

Some people are saying the senator's not to blame. But whatever your thoughts, those comments aren't just going to disappear. Tanner Flake’s online actions may continue to follow him and his father.

There are already dozens of pages on Google about 15-year-old Tanner Flake's online words. Those words may likely live forever online, and could be brought up again and again. It’s a lesson the teenager and his father are learning the hard way.

The n-word, gay slurs, anti-Semitic language… causing a firestorm that may burn on for years.

Michael Hayes, a staffing specialist, says colleges and employers look at your digital footprint.

“This is really a train wreck... When somebody makes a mistake, they could be hearing about it for the next 25 years,” says Hayes.

Senator Flake apologized for his son's racists online remarks. But those words are not easily forgiven. Arizona civil rights leaders are calling for a face to face meeting.

The senator's office told FOX 10 the senator hopes to be able to meet with leaders in the African-American community soon. But the whole ordeal is now serving as a lesson for parents and their kids.

“I told her the rule, never put anything negative on Facebook,” said one parent.

“I go with the rule, would I want my Grandma to see this? You never want to disappoint my grandma," another man told us.

A rule perhaps broken over and over by teenagers nationwide. But for Flake and his son, that broken rule is putting them in international hot water.

“He’s going to pay a higher price [being a senator's son] than say, if he’s a regular person in the street," says Hayes.

We've asked the senator's officer for interviews about this matter. They've haven't agreed to one.

Right now through they are sticking by a statement the senator released earlier this week, apologizing for the words and saying: "this language is unacceptable, anywhere."

Also surfacing on the web was a "fake suicide" by Tanner Flake, apparently posted two years ago, taken down, then reposted. The video shows Tanner cocking the gun and pointing it at his head. At the end of the clip, there's the sound of a gunshot and an animated flash bang.

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