NEW ORLEANS -- Potential employers and college admissions panels are using social media to check a person's reputation. But now, more than ever, police and prosecutors are using it as evidence.
Today teens and young adults have different risks than generations before them.
It's only a 40 second glimpse of the past, but it's an international incident about the young marines who urinated on dead Afghan bodies. Some believe in punishment, others believe in criminal charges.
An Alabama fan could be prosecuted after video went viral of him rubbing his exposed genitals on a passed out LSU fan near a New Orleans fast food restaurant.
In 2010, college students are charged with invasion of privacy when they shot and posted a sexual encounter of two male students. One committed suicide afterwards.
A Norco, La., teen duck hunter could go to jail after boasting about killing more than the legal limit on his Facebook page.
Experts say young adults are programmed to explore their world, to be impulsive risk takers, but now there's evidence for the world to see that could change their lives forever.
"Our brains are different (when we are young) and we also are starting to have hormones percolate and we're at an age where we have more independence. We're finally allowed to do some things. And then there is, of course, there is liquor becoming more available, drugs become available," said Dr. Kristopher Kaliebe, an assistant professor of psychiatry at LSU Health Sciences Center.
Statistics show this young generation is not taking more risks, is not more antisocial or more hostile. The nature of youth risk taking today is the same, but the technology allows the risks to be different.
"We have opportunities available that we couldn't do before, things like sexting, inappropriate sexual behavior, never was before possible. In fact, the car, if people could think back, it was very difficult for teenagers (before the car) to even get together alone. So the car was a whole cultural shift," he explained.
He said teens are more influenced by the mob mentality and peer pressure than adults are. Humans are programmed to imitate others.
"We have a whole industry in television that sort of rewards silly or dysfunctional behavior and so it is interesting. There's pockets in our society where people who act in a dysfunctional way get a lot of rewards for it," said Dr. Kaliebe about reality TV shows.
The experts say that young males are more likely to suffer the consequences in the future of risk taking when they were younger.
Consider this: In all species, males are more likely to be the risk taker. And demographics are changing. In U.S. colleges, 60 percent of the students are now female. And 70 percent of dropouts from high school are males.
So young men need to think about how behavior today will affect their future potential for getting a job one day, especially since they will be competing with males coming from other countries for the same jobs.
While these "Caught on Tape" problems happen, overall more sophisticated teens are more aware of the consequences of public behavior these days. And it has actually decreased some bad behavior in certain instances.
But parents need to get involved because young adults will model their good behavior.
"The modeling is more important. You do need to have some conversations with kids about what risks are worth taking and what risks are not worth taking. So unfortunately, parents don't know a lot of about technology, so parents often have trouble having that conversation," said Dr. Kaliebe.
The doctor also says another downside of social media is that many young people believe that they always have to be connected and it stresses the brain to not have any downtime.