SOCIAL NETWORKING SITES
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Below is an excerpt from an e-mail talking about the technical risks of social networking sites. There are several important points/comments that need to be remembered with regard to college athletics and admissions. Please read below:
- In recent years, social networking sites (Facebook, Friendster, MySpace, Classmates.com, YouTube, etc.) have become increasingly popular for a variety of purposes: social interaction, job searches, and expressing social or political viewpoints. With this increase in usage comes an increase in risks associated with these sites and the necessity to take steps to mitigate them.
- Social networking sites allow hundreds of thousands of people to interact and post a variety of content: profiles, videos, commentary, etc. Intertwined with the legitimate content, malicious users also post malware and attempt to exploit security vulnerabilities in applications and operating systems. They may use certain exploits to take control of you Internet browser, or they may post scripts designed for a variety of malicious purposes.
- If you use these sites, you should take steps to protect yourself from technical risks by ensuring the computer you use is running up-to-date antivirus software and a personal firewall with appropriate security settings has been installed. As an additional precaution, you should not download content from social networking sites if you are unsure of the source.
- Even more significant than the technical risks are the social risks related to these sites. Information you post on social networking sites can be used for identity theft, cyber-bullying, cyber-stalking, and harassment. Posted information may also have legal ramifications, as law enforcement personnel and attorneys now use these sites to gather evidence for cases, to discredit testimony, or to question witnesses credibility.
- To guard against the social risks related to these sites, you should not post too much personal information about yourself (home address, phone number, place of employment), and you should never post any personally identifiable information about yourself (Social Security number, date of birth). As a basic rule of thumb, you should never post anything you would not want the whole world to see one day.
The first point, and most important point that needs to be emphasized is the last sentence above do not post anything you would want the whole world to see. Second, these sites can/are being used to gather data/evidence about you. And lastly, these sites can be used to access your own personal computers for malicious reasons. These three points alone should be enough to discourage any student athlete wanting to attend a college to avoid the sites at all costs.
Yes, coaches do search these sites to see if prospective recruits have postings. What are they looking for? What else, things that are going to give them indications of they type of player, student and overall person that you are. If he/she sees postings of you at parties, with alcohol, they may think twice about contacting you. They could have concerns about your performance, ability to show up to practice, and whether you could maintain your academic qualifications.
Yes, Admissions offices at many schools are using the social networking sites for the same reasons. In fact, many colleges are hiring recent graduates to search sites and report about potential applicants before they send out admission letters. Some schools have even rescinded acceptance letters based on what has been posted on these sites. And yes, college administrators and security personnel do use these sites to gather evidence against students for things such as dorm damage and rule violations.
In summary, if you want to attend college and participate in a sport, avoid social networking sites at all costs. If you cant control what is posted, then you have to be willing to suffer the consequences not being accepted and/or not making the team.
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