Do students need a social media safeguard?

Late-night social media posts could have a lasting impact for students.

For college students prone to posting 2 a.m. Facebook status updates detailing the party they just stumbled from, there’s a new web application that might save them from themselves.

Freshmen orientation lessons about how to use popular social networking websites like Twitter and Facebook have become commonplace in higher education, as graduate schools and employers scour the sites for potentially incriminating social media posts—pictures that students wouldn’t want their parents to see and tweets betraying their post-party state of mind on a Friday night.

Now, the makers of a free new application released this month, Social Media Sobriety Test, say they can help college students—and anyone fearful of wayward social media posts—create a firewall between themselves and their mishaps on social networking websites.

The app, made by Colorado-based internet security company Webroot, gave the Sobriety Test a simple slogan: “Protecting you from all possible threats, even yourself.”

The online test lets users choose the social networking websites and hours of protection they want to include, meaning that if a student tried to log on to Facebook during that timeframe—after midnight, for example—he or she would have to pass a series of tests before creating a post, or commenting on a photo.

Watch how the Sobriety Test Works on eCN.TV

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The application’s tests include typing the alphabet backward—much like reciting the alphabet backward for a police officer at a sobriety checkpoint—and keeping the cursor inside a small circle as it moves across the computer screen.

“It’s a fun way to remind people to be more responsible on their various social networks,” said MacLean Guthrie, a Webroot spokeswoman, adding that the Social Media Sobriety Test can be overridden at any time, even if the user can’t remember if “v” comes before or after “w” in the alphabet. “And all you have to do is select the hours that you think you’ll need it most.”

She added: “Today, one drunken online slip-up can remain on the internet forever and cost you more than your pride.”