Social networking through the use of such services as Facebook have become part of everyday life for many of us. These types of networks can be used to find others with common interests, share personal information, and communicate with friends. While cyber communities can be used in positive ways, it is important to use common sense and keep several key thoughts in mind:
- The information you place online can influence your future. Pictures that may demonstrate behaviors that are questionable or suggestive can be viewed by anyone on the Internet, including possible future employers. There have been instances where graduates have had their Facebook page called up during the interview process.
- Making your information private does not mean that others are unable to view the material. Hackers have many tricks that enable them to view what is thought by you to be off limits. You should also remember that pictures or other information posted for a short period of time and then removed by you may have been downloaded by others and exist in cyberspace for years to come.
- Be safe. Use common sense when entering information on Web sites. There is the illusion that your information is there for only your friends to view but realize that your information can be passed on to others that may not have your well being in mind. It is strongly suggested that you do not post information such as phone numbers or your place of residence.
- Think about how you represent yourself and others. It is not only important to take note of what you say about yourself online but equally important are the comments you make about others. You do not want to face alleged violations that claim inappropriate behavior on your part.