University officials warn students to think before posting online

Law school professor Daniel Solove discussed the evolving definition of privacy in the Internet age at the Division of Information Technology’s panel discussion. Jordan Emont | Assistant Photo Editor

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Aaron Goodtree.

Nearly all young people have some form of online profile, but many still do not understand the implications of what they post online, staff members from the University’s security and student life offices said at a panel Wednesday.

The panel, comprising top GW officials and students, stressed the need for students to stop and think before connecting – echoing the theme of this year’s National Cyber Security Awareness Month.

“You should always assume that someone is going to use [information you share] for purposes other than what you intended,”  cautioned Dennis Devlin, assistant vice president for information security and compliance services. He said besides employers reviewing applicants’ online presence as part of  interviews, some government agencies are conducting psychological profiling based on social media pages during the hiring process.

Danielle Lico, associate dean of students, said social media leads to more cyber bullying incidences because students are more likely to throw around insults online instead of in-person. She said society is still learning how to apply interpersonal civility to the social media sphere.

For example, she said, her office worked with two roommates who had issues that they didn’t work out because they hadn’t spoken face-to-face in the six weeks they had lived together. When the students sat down in her office, they worked out their issue in less than a minute, she said.

“The communication skills and the conflict management skills aren’t there,” Lico said.

Student Association President Ashwin Narla said young people are still working out the societal norms for online behavior.

“There’s no history of how you should behave,” he said.

The panel was hosted by the Division of Information Technology, which has also stressed cyber security awareness through emails to students throughout the month.

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