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Who is "creepin'" on you?

On Tuesday, Residential Life staff members hosted an online social network safety session called “Creepbook.”

Students went to the Oak Place Apartments Community Room to talk about their Facebook experiences and learn new techniques on how to stay safe while networking online.

Apartment Living Assistants (ALA) Colton Mabis and Brock Lamkins along with Renee Schloss, a Social Justice Coordinator (SJC), facilitated the event.

The SJC is similar to a residential assistant (RA) but focuses more on LGBT, women and gender-related issues that students may face.

The SJC lives among the residence so they may have that person to talk to on a 24-hour basis.

The event featured a couple of guests from the UMKC Women’s Center. Director Brenda Bethman and Michelle Kronan, a victim service adjustment manager, attended the discussion portion and gave advice and information on campus services that assist students through all forms of traumatic events, including online stalking, which can lead to more physical and dangerous encounters.

The students discussed a few key concerns they experienced while on Facebook.

One of the biggest concerns was the availability of information on Facebook.

“Residential Life recognizes that social media is a powerful tool, but on the flip side, can get users into a lot of trouble if they are not cautious about what information they provide,” Schloss said.

The students asked what information should be on their profiles.

Kronan explained to students how putting information such as a full birthday can allow easier identity theft: Someone could obtain one’s social security number using that information.

“There is all this information that you’re sharing with folks that I think, in retrospect, when you look at all the stuff you’re putting out there, you realize how vulnerable you can be,” Kronan said.

Kronan also mentioned incidents that led to more serious consequences for those who mindlessly posted information on facebook.

Facebook and Twitter sometimes aid stalking. People who post their class schedule and current whereabouts can allow others to stalk them, or worse.

Mabis and Lamkins explained a new mobile application for Facebook called “Check-in,” a default application that automatically broadcasts a users information.

By simply including a place like Starbucks, for example, in your status, “check-in” automatically adds a link to “Starbucks” and then sends a special update to all of your friends’ mini-feeds.

Students can face many consequences from using Facebook, Twitter and MySpace irresponsibly.

“These consequences could be anything from [falling victim to] theft, to stalking, to robbery,” Schloss said.“We want to ensure that our residents use these tools safely.”

The check-in application has led to cases of stalking.

In 2009, Asia McGowan, 20, was killed at gunpoint at the Henry Ford Community College in Detroit after a man stalked her on Facebook and harassed her though YouTube.

More recently in August, two Wisconsin women were charged for stalking and eventually assaulting another woman over an ex-boyfriend. The women could face up to 12 years in prison.

“It can happen anywhere,” Kronan said. “Be very conscience of who you are allowing to see this information and what kind of information you are sharing.”

Avoiding online trouble was one of the main goals of “Creepbook.”

Teaching the students the safe way to network is key to preventing the violent crimes from happening again.

Below are a couple upcoming Social Justice events similar to “Creepbook” that are sponsored by Residential Life

Oct. 27 is the “Looking closer at Athletics” on the fifth floor lounge in the Oak Sreet Residence Hall room 5034 at 8 p.m.

Oct. 28 is the annual Post Secret workshop, head to the Oak Sreet Basement at 9 p.m. to make your own Post Secret.

mlinville@unews.com

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