Whether it’s for social networking, media, business or shopping, we surrender our private identity to the Internet almost every time we log on. Growing up, we always were taught never to give out personal information to strangers, let alone to the entire world. Sometimes it’s hard to know for sure who you are communicating with, which can potentially open the door to suspicious individuals, such as someone like former Rider professor in the Graduate School of Education, Dr. Austin Winther, who was allegedly involved in an online scandal.
Since computers are a necessity in our fast-paced lives, it’s hard not to have any attachment to the Internet. Have you ever gone onto Google and typed in your name? It’s both an impressive and creepy experience. You find that the search engine has brought up every social networking page you have ever participated in, any news articles you were involved in, perhaps a family tree and maybe even something about your high school graduating class, all in a matter of seconds.
While it may seem like a no-brainer, there are people who don’t realize the dangers of having their personal lives out in the open for all to simply look up. As soon as you post personal information, you start building your permanent online portfolio. This includes all those underage drinking photos you may have up on Facebook, where you live, your date of birth and possibly even a receipt from an online purchase. These are dangerous pieces of information to expose, and anyone can discover them.
While online safety is an issue, the use of social networking sites is something that will not be declining any time soon. The best way to protect yourself is to obtain as much privacy as you can on any website you use. Update security settings on places like Facebook or Google+ and be careful with the information and photos you choose to post to represent yourself. The Internet is a large place, but everything about you can be found in an instant if you’re not careful.
This weekly editorial expresses the majority opinion of The Rider News. The editorial was written by the Assistant Opinion Editor, Kristy Grinere.