I have gotten a few forwards lately from people who I know to be intelligent and should know to check the source before forwarding. I read these forwards and immediately question them. You know the types: "Don't Use Your Cell Phone While It Is Plugged Into The Wall", or "Amazing, Even CBS Didn't Stop Him" (an email someone typed and then attached Andy Rooney's name to it), or "Wow" (this one says that President Obama and his wife attend flag burnings), or "My Kind of Dog" (a forward about a military dog named Brutus who won the Congressional Medal of Honor).
It was the "Don't Use Your Cell While It Is Plugged Into The Wall" forward that prompted me to write this. The forward was a warning that phones will catch on fire and burn or kill you if you use them while charging. It showed graphic pictures of burned hands and fingers. Then the forward went on to say that the person who was burned was pronounced dead on arrival when he reached the hospital. Well, you can tell the pictures were taken at home. This immediately threw up a red flag for me. Did this person's family really care so little about him that they took the time to photograph his burnt hands before taking him to the ER? Or did someone really just email me pictures of a dead person's hands? COME ON PEOPLE. Let's all use some common sense. Of course with about 2 seconds of investigation on the Internet I found this forward to be false. I often check forwards with Snopes.com. I don't know that it is the most reputable site either. I am not claiming to be an expert. I do, however, think that a little further research may stifle our need to so hastily hit the forward button.
I know most forwards are sent because they strike some kind of human emotion that the sender truly cares about (patriotism, love of animals, safety concerns, etc). Also, I know that some forwards while untrue still offer a good moral message. But let's all be more careful about spreading rumors, fallacies, or slander. Let's check our sources.
See below for links regarding some of the forwards previously mentioned.
Brutus the dog with the Medal of Honor http://www.snopes.com/photos/military/brutus.asp
Obama and the flag http://www.snopes.com/politics/obama/stance.asp
Never use a charging cell phone http://www.snopes.com/horrors/techno/cellcharge.asp