Discretion necessary for Spring Break blogs

Abbey Stirgwolt

After a week of relaxation and revelry, students may be tempted to post Spring Break play-by-plays on their blogs, MySpace and Facebook accounts. But even though vacationers’ friends may enjoy a lively recap of warmer, freer times, future employers and Internet stalkers are likely to be just as interested, said Greg Seibert, director of security and compliance.

The return from Spring Break tends to bring with it an increased volume of blog postings, these accompanied by scores of complaints from students and parents about inappropriate pictures and online harassment, Seibert said.

“If you’re going to post an illegal or detrimental activity, it could be detrimental in the future,” Seibert said.

Seibert said the “real downside” of posting about drunken, illegal or other potentially inappropriate Spring Break escapades is that future employers can – and more frequently are – accessing that information.

“We’re lucky we haven’t had any assaults, but other universities have,” Seibert said. “The big thing for Kent State students is the employer angle.”

An April 3 e-mail from Seibert encouraged students to use discretion when choosing material and images to post on blogs, noting that unwanted blog visitors are not under university jurisdiction.

“There is nothing that the institution can do about the postings of others. If a student feels aggrieved or defamed based on the postings of others, they are the ones who must complain to the poster or the Web site in order for corrective action to be taken,” the e-mail stated.

“I want to remind students that even though it seems the aura of anonymity on the Internet still exists, it is a false sense of security,” Seibert wrote. “Pages on the Internet are accessible and readable by anyone. You simply should not post anything that you don’t want the whole world to read and know – this includes your parents, your future employers and unsavory individuals who may locate you based on the information that you provide.”

Seibert said students who wish to complain can do so by accessing the help links provided by specific blogs, such as Facebook or MySpace.

Contact technology reporter Abbey Stirgwolt at [email protected].