Home » Opinion » Students don’t know, or don’t care, about Web privacy

Students don’t know, or don’t care, about Web privacy

An estimated 85 percent of college students use Facebook to connect with their friends and fellow students, according to CNN and Newsweek. Many of them use the privacy settings Facebook provides them to protect images, status updates and wall posts that they might not want the outside world to see.

By the outside world, I mean potential employers, current employers and parents. Do you want to know what they can see? Facebook profile pictures.

During the past years I’ve been on this social networking site and I’ve seen profile pictures that even I’m ashamed to look at. Students packing bowls of weed, bonging beers with their friends standing around them, heads inside toilets and faces covered in Sharpie marker.

I’m definitely not here to criticize people for their decisions. We’ve all had our nights, but to display them brazenly on Facebook is basically telling employers that they can’t hire you or should fire you.

When you’re working for a company, you’re representing not only yourself but that company as well. I don’t really need to tell my audience that fact, they already know it.

More than 11 percent of employers have admitted that they searched job applicants via social media sites. Some of those people said that if they didn’t like something on the applicant’s profile, they skip over them to the next person.

Since coming to college and even in high school, we’ve been told to keep compromising photographs private and to make sure our profile pictures are ones we wouldn’t be ashamed to show our parents. Some students fail to heed those words of advice.

Have a good and crazy weekend but make sure those tagged photos are safely tucked away in a place where only a certain, select group of people can view them. More extreme measures students take is to untag any photos of them anywhere near alcohol.

Some students even go as far as creating a whole new profile for potential employers. That is actually a violation of Facebook’s privacy laws, and if they catch you doing it, they’ll terminate both your fake and real accounts. Tread carefully.

It’s becoming more common these days that your private, social life is now public property. Anything students put online is open to anyone who chooses to look at it. It’s not an ideal situation. Some students, including myself, feel that our private lives should have no say in whether we’re qualified to get a job.

Employers feel a little differently.

Keep your profile private if you’re going to display pictures of you doing a keg stand. And if you really need to have a profile picture of you and a friend smoking a joint because you guys had cute outfits on, at least PhotoShop a vuvuzela into it and pretend you’re at a soccer game. No one would ever guess.

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