As technology continues to rapidly evolve, it presents many new and exciting opportunities for social interaction and communication with people from around the world. Popular online social networks, such as Facebook, Myspace and Twitter, allow users to meet new people, create new friendships, join new communities and connect with people who have similar interests.
However, online Social Networking can impact your life offline. While it might be fun to create a temporary on-line identity as a party girl/guy, this could possibly create a lasting impression that affects future job applications, scholarships or relationships.
The information you post is vulnerable to context, circumstance and interpretation and comes with the same rights and responsibilities as your offline actions. It is also important to note that while the University does not regularly police Facebook, Myspace or other similar sites, you may still be held accountable for any online behaviour that contravenes the standards of the University.
Something to Consider:
You have rights and responsibilities associated with any form of communication or interaction, online or offline. Although cyberspace seems impersonal, you are still responsible for treating others with respect and decency. Facebook policy itself bars posting “harmful, threatening, abusive, harassing, vulgar, obscene, hateful or racially, ethnically, or otherwise objectionable” material on the site (view the entire policy). In general, if you wouldn’t do or say something in person, it might not be something to post online.
As open communities, social networks expose you to many new and interesting people; however, not everyone’s intentions are positive. Detailed profiles may contain extensive personal information, such as phone numbers, addresses and class schedules, which can lead to incidents of stalking, identity theft and harassment. When posting, you should only post information that’s already available in the public domain rather than specific details such as your address, class schedule or personal phone numbers. Limit the availability of your profile using the privacy settings.
Although privacy settings help you control who sees your profile, they do not guarantee that you have complete control over the information you have posted. Even if you take down or change posted information, it is still available on the internet as cached information. Additionally, even secure sites can easily be hacked and private information made public. Posting photos or blogs that include drinking or suggestions of illegal activity can exist indefinitely online, having unanticipated consequences in the future. Before posting, ask yourself if this is the identity you want to resurface five years from now.
Messages to Remember
- You can be held responsible for your online behaviour
- If you wouldn’t want it printed in a newspaper, don’t post it online
- The internet can create a false sense of safety and security
- Remember to maintain relationships offline
For more information contact Campus Security Services.