Social Media Information Especially for Students

What are some advantages of using social media websites?
  • Easy information exchange. Social media platforms allow users to converse and exchange information digitally.
  • Ability to modify posted information. Users of social media websites can completely change their profiles with just a few clicks.
What are some disadvantages of using social media websites?
  • Easy access. Anyone (including those who may intend to harm you) can find personal information through social media websites and "deep-Web" searches far more easily than in the past.
  • Tool for procrastinating or wasting time. Surfing social media websites can easily take up hours that could have been used for tasks such as studying or working.
  • Electronic communication may not be as effective as face-to-face communication. Electronic communication does not always carry the same meaning as face-to-face conversation. There are no facial expressions or vocal tone to support what is being said, and the message can easily be misinterpreted. Unlike spoken words, electronic messages sent or posted in the heat of the moment can be saved, forwarded and/or printed to prove what was said. And they generally remain on the Internet forever.

Make smart choices about your personal settings and what you post.

The following questions are designed to help you make smart choices about your privacy settings, as well as what you decide to post on your page:

  • Would I want someone I don't know or don't trust to show up unannounced at my class, residence hall or workplace?
  • Am I comfortable getting phone calls, emails or other forms of attention from strangers?
  • Am I posting information about myself (including photos) that would leave me vulnerable to crime?
  • Would I be comfortable if a potential or current employer, professor, parent or close friend read/saw what I posted?
  • What would my profile say about me to future roommates or neighbors? Would they form negative preconceptions about me?
  • Am I posting information or photos portraying me engaging in illegal activities or activities that are against the Student Code of Conduct?
  • Online photos can be easily copied, downloaded or manipulated. Am I posting photos that would embarrass or incriminate me if they were shown in other venues? Am I willing to take the risk that someone may use my photo in a way in which I would not approve?

Be wary about trusting what others post.

Facebook and similar websites do not have mechanisms in place to verify what is posted in individual profiles and pages. What you see is not always what you get. Consider these questions before reposting/forwarding content, divulging additional information or deciding if you want to meet an online acquaintace in person:

  • Is the information I am reading from a reliable source?
  • Would I be aiding/abetting a crime or policy violation if I follow instructions found on someone's profile/page?
  • What are the possible advantages of getting to know this person better? Are there risks that I can reduce or elimate before we proceed in deepening our involvement with each other? 
  • If I am considering meeting someone for the first time, have I chosen a public setting with a way to get myself out of the situation if it is unsafe?

Who can help?

You can get help from one of these offices or departments if you become a victim through affiliation with a social media website.
Counseling Center 513-556-0648
Office of Student Life 513-556-5250
Resident Education and Development  513-556-6476
UC 24-Hour Sexual Violence Crisis Line  513-218-9531
UC Ombuds Office 513-556-5956
UC Police Department 513-556-1111 or 911 (Emergencies)
UC Women's Center 513-556-4401
UCIT Information Security 513-558-4732
University Judicial Affairs 513-556-6812