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.
- Students should avoid posting pictures that might cast them in a negative light. Pictures on Facebook or other websites should be those that students would feel comfortable having on the front page of a local newspaper.
- Pictures of illegal or irresponsible acts could open students up to criminal or judicial investigations. Others may tag a photo to students’ profiles that may not present them in the best light. It is important to check profiles 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 students many years into the future.
- Students may want all of their friends to have their contact information, but there are others they may not want to reach them. 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 released and to whom it is released.
- If students post their class schedule and address, anyone who can log on to that particular site knows where students are during the day, making them more vulnerable to crime.
- Partying and boozing probably don’t qualify as hobbies or interests. Students should be careful what they name their groups and which ones they join.
- Threatening language directed at an individual is a crime.
- Employer representatives that students meet at a career fair could be alumni who may look them up on Facebook. The chances of being hired by a company may be impacted by students’ Facebook or other accounts.
- Use of derogatory or offensive language may not reflect students at their best. Students should not put language on the web that they would not use in an interview or in a meeting with a faculty member.
- Students should be conscious of how much time they spend on websites like Facebook and on 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.