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5 pitfalls students should avoid on Facebook

With more than 96 percent of college students utilizing Facebook®, the social media giant has become an essential part of daily college life. Facebook can be a great way to connect with friends and family, but students face increasing dangers from cybercrime, as well as myriad potential ethical dilemmas. Here are a few tips from social media experts on how University of Phoenix students can avoid the pitfalls:

Beware of possible Facebook pitfalls.

Never post homework questions on your wall.

Although it might be tempting to poll friends for answers online, this practice violates the University of Phoenix Student Code of Conduct. "Academic dishonesty won't be tolerated," explains Libby Bailey, dispute operations manager for University of Phoenix. "The University doesn't take these instances lightly, and consequences are serious."

Instead, Bailey directs students to utilize the Center for Math Excellence and the Center for Writing Excellence. Similarly, she encourages learners to cultivate a community on PhoenixConnectsm, the University's private social media site, where students, alumni and faculty post information.

"Facebook provides a fun social interaction," Bailey says, "but PhoenixConnect will give you a professional academic interaction with not only classmates but also faculty, staff, other professionals, and possibly future employers or co-workers."


Don't accept solicitations.

Solicitation by unauthorized tutoring organizations, the kind that offer to do your homework for you, is a serious problem in higher learning.

"Students utilizing these services not only run the risk of being caught for a violation of the code of academic integrity," Bailey says, "but there is also a huge risk that goes along with giving out your personal information." In some cases, you might be giving a stranger access to all your financial information, including your address and social security number.


Don't open the door to strangers.

When you allow someone to be your friend, their friends all have access to your data — and you open the door to your social world.

"Facebook allows 'friends of friends' to access data by running a script," says Chris Crowe, a social media manager for the University, explaining that this is akin to hacking. By accessing your information this way, your name, phone number, email address, photos and tagging location are available. Crowe adds, "You have to ask yourself — do you feel comfortable releasing this information to people you don't know?"


Beware of potentially suspicious links.

Clicking on unknown links on Facebook can give people access to your personal information. "We're not just talking about viruses, we're also talking about phishing schemes," Crowe says. He also notes that you may not know right away that your privacy has been breached.


Be wary of pages.

Pages are all public, and when you post on them you're waiving your right to privacy. "Anyone searching for your name on the Internet can find that information," Crowe explains. Fortunately, Facebook is changing their policy to allow users to send private messages to pages, which is the safe choice when you don't want your comments to be public.

Facebook is a registered trademark of Facebook Inc.

Facebook is a registered trademark of Facebook Inc.

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