Each day, thousands of Georgia State University students log on and enter the world of cyberspace. From blogs and chat rooms to online journals and email, there are very few students who are not affected by the internet.
Facebook and other forms of social media (e.g., Twitter and Instagram) are all popular sites for students to visit and use to communicate with one another. If used responsibly, these web destinations can be a productive way for students to interact with one another and connect with students from inside and outside the university. However, when used without discretion, these online interactions can leave students vulnerable to dangers that may lie in the vast, unpredictable space that is the web.
Therefore, the Dean of Students office has compiled a list of things that students should think about before embarking boldly into the world of internet talk. Responsible use of web communication can lead to a safer Georgia State University community for everyone.
- Avoid posting pictures that might cast you in a negative light. If you would not want the photo on the front page of a local newspaper, you probably shouldn’t have it on Facebook or other websites.
- Pictures of illegal or irresponsible acts could open you up to criminal or judicial investigations. Others may tag a photo to your profile that may not present you in the best light. Check your profile often.
- Photos on Facebook (or anywhere else on the web) can be easily copied and shared with others. Digital photos can have a way of embarrassing you many years into the future.
- You may want all of your friends to have your contact information, but there may be many others who you would not want to reach you. Some information should remain confidential.
- Take the time to explore the privacy settings built into Facebook and other sites. There are ways to control the amount of information you release and to whom you release it.
- If you post your class schedule and address, anyone who can log on to that particular site knows where you are during the day, and you are more vulnerable to crime.
- Partying and boozing probably don’t qualify as hobbies or interests. Be careful what you name your groups and which ones you join.
- Threatening language directed at an individual is a crime.
- Employer representatives you meet at a career fair could be alumni who may look you up on Facebook. Your chances of being hired by a company may be impacted by your Facebook or other accounts.
- Use of derogatory or offensive language may not reflect you at your best. If you wouldn’t speak that way in an interview or in a meeting with a faculty member, don’t put it on the web.
- Be conscious of how much time you spend on websites like Facebook and blogs. It is easy to waste a lot of time that could be spent being more productive.
- Use common sense when publishing anything on the internet or visiting other websites.