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Mustang Time Investigators

Mentors demonstrate lack of privacy online

November 19, 2015

As freshmen trotted into MT last week, they were instructed to engage in an activity that required intensive research of strangers online. At first, students were concerned that they were instructed to engage in online stalking, but the activity simply demonstrated the openness of information on social media.

“We had our mentors give freshman time to work on this research activity. We gave them two names of Omaha business people to look up and find personal information online,” Mustang Mentoring Program Supervisor Jodi Therkelsen said.

Freshman were instructed to use their phones to investigate as much information possible about these two strangers.

“This was just to see how much is available about a person without even realizing what’s out there,” Therkelsen said.

The results were overwhelming. Students were able to find all sorts of information about the strangers—from the cost of their homes to their phone numbers to the amount of kids they had. Websites such as Linkedin, Facebook, and Twitter revealed a large amount of information to these strangers’ lives.

“It was weird how much information we found about strangers. I learned that you can find anything in the internet,” freshman TJ White said.

While freshmen were slightly shocked at first, the activity was a fun and engaging way to tell them to be careful of what they’re posting online.

“The goal is just to be aware of what you put out there because it’s available for anybody to see, not just the target audience that you want,” Therkelsen said.

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