Students in hot water over Facebook updates

By Amanda Shaffer

Whether they are confessing to underage drinking or petty theft, some Facebook users don’t realize the possible outcomes to their status updates until it’s too late.

On Oct. 1, NIU student Matt Dunn, was arrested in less than 24 hours after stealing a banner from St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 900 Normal Road in DeKalb, and posting about the incident on Facebook. The banner was for St. Paul’s 3rd Annual Pet Blessings event, and Dunn had posted something about stealing it before and after he took the banner.

“Somebody sent a picture of his Facebook page where the confession was,” said Stacy Walker-Frontjes, a reverend at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. “Once you post something online, it’s out there for the world to see.”

Getting in trouble with the law shouldn’t be the only concern. Some students are getting scorned at their places of work..

“I [ditched] out on work and posted my status as ‘partying with friends’ so I got written up,” said freshman journalism major Kathleen Hennessy.

Students are also getting in trouble with their families because of pictures and posts about activities.

“Pictures of my drinking showed up on my Facebook and somehow my mom found out,” said freshman nursing major Karissa Azarela. “I had to delete all my family from my friends list.”

Some people may even post private information or photos about others.

“This girl took a ‘photo’ of herself, if you catch my drift, and she sent it to her boyfriend.” said freshman business major Nick St. Clair. “The next day they broke up, and he sent it around [high] school. Everyone ended up posting about it, and by the end of it, the guy was arrested.”

Facebook posts and status updates aren’t just seen by friends.

“It’s public; anyone can see [your status]. It’s going to get out,” said Sarah Jedloe, freshman pre-special education major.