iProtocol: Phone Etiquette

Photo by Grant Worley/THE FLARE
Photo by Grant Worley/THE FLARE

Cell phones are everywhere and it seems that everyone has one. From those as young as six to octogenarians, a cell phone seems to be permanently attached to their hands. With this popularity comes a new set of problems; when and where it is appropriate to use them? A cell phone can be used to make calls, but it can also be used for entertainment, gathering and sharing information, banking and music; the list goes on.
Look around any gathering; heads are bent as people look down at their phones. Connecting to this technology doesn’t mean we should disconnect from each other.

If we become more wary of how we conduct ourselves, then we can help facilitate the dying art of personal and intimate conversation without alienating it with modern technology. Here are some tips:

Remember to speak softly; microphones on today’s phones are very sensitive. Be courteous when on a group outing; silence the phone to avoid interrupting conversation or activities; voicemail is there for a reason.       Foul language is always inappropriate when it can be overhead and avoid airing dirty laundry. When with others and expecting a call, ask if it is alright to answer and then step away when the call comes in and be brief. When in places of worship, theatres, libraries or restaurants, always turn the phone off. Even on vibrate, it can still disturb others. If the phone must be kept on, use “silent” mode instead and move away from others to take the call.
Do not text during class or at a meeting-it is unprofessional and disrespectful to the instructor or speaker. Once a text or photo is sent, there is no way to get it back, so be careful about the information shared. Never drive and use the phone at the same time. Common courtesy and common sense equals being in charge of the phone, not the phone being in charge of your world.


Freedom and Accountability

Freedom and liberty. The words invoke several meanings and emotions to different people. They are some of the first values we come to learn and respect at a young age in the United States — their concepts taught as intrinsic to our way of life, though they’re not exclusive to this country.

However, there is an unspoken condition that comes with the concepts of freedom and liberty: accountability. For every action that we take there is a consequence, be it good or bad.

Freedom of speech is the most used and misunderstood of the liberties we enjoy. With it we are free to share our thoughts, opinions and beliefs among each other, although many mistake this as a pass to say anything they want without consequence. A classic argument for this concept is that one cannot, or rather should not, yell, “Fire!” and cause a panic when there is none. A person who does so would face trouble and cause negative consequences to himself and others.

One notorious example would be Westboro Baptist Church, which has grown infamous over the years with their protests of the funerals of soldiers and gay people. They act within the law but are also rather despised by the general population. Their actions and beliefs may be considered reprehensible by some people but  their freedom to protest to do so is intrinsic to everyone else.
The right to protest is an important cornerstone in the foundation of a free society, although recent events in our nation have left its future in a dubious position.
Just months after several major protests on various issues swept across the nations, several Republican leaders have proposed bills that would criminalize certain protests. For example, in Colorado, Republican state senator, Jerry Sonnenberg, has introduced a bill that would greatly increase penalties for environmental protesters. Under the proposed law, obstructing or tampering with oil and gas equipment would be reclassified from a misdemeanor to a “class 6” felony, a category of crime that reportedly can be punished by up to 18 months behind bars and a fine of up to $100,000.

While the creation of these bills is touted as safety concerns, the language of the bills are vague and troublesome, raising questions as to whether our government leaders are more focused on protecting the sanctity of our liberties or corporate interests.

Despite the unclear nature of these bills, most of the responsibility lies on the citizens of this country. This also includes the issues that exist directly as a result of our collective apathy toward our local governments. If we truly hold these freedoms dear, then we must do more than dismiss any attempt to unravel them. We must constantly hold ourselves and our leaders accountable in order to show our true appreciation for our liberties.


Refresh, give back some of yourself over Spring Break

Spring Break

Charity starts at home is an old phrase, but one that still holds a lot of truth. Our lives are made up of a series of choices and the decisions we make can either improve this world or keep it exactly the same. A small sacrifice of your time could mean the difference between an individual having the basic necessities of life, and having nothing. Even if your contribution doesn’t make a huge difference, it can still impact someone’s life and brighten their day.

Instead of spending your spring break partying or sleeping, consider volunteering for a local charity, joining an organization, or making donations to a cause. You could also offer to clean up an area of your community, visit nursing homes, or something as simple as paying a compliment.

One cause that you can donate to is the KC Food Pantry, which is low on supplies due to an increase in student use. Donations can be dropped off in Dr. Mike Jenkins’ office in the Devall Student Center. In particular, they are looking for: canned meals (Chef-Boy-R-Dee, Campbell’s and Spaghetti O’s); tuna and pasta meals (Zatarain’s, Knorr and Uncle Ben’s); breakfast items (pastries and cereal); and baking mixes.

Female students can also join the newly formed KC Golden Z Club, which is affiliated with Zonta International and The Zonta Club of Greater East Texas. The club advocates for women’s rights as well as protection against violence. Their meetings will be held in the Woodfin Center Conference Room at a time and date to be determined. For more info, call Charleen Worsham at 903-988-3700.

Helping a small group of people might not seem like much, but it is still a change which ultimately means progress and a difference in someone’s life or well-being.

Price of college continues to take toll on students’ wallets

Photo by Grant Worley/THE FLARE


It’s not news to anyone that college has become increasingly expensive over the years. According to the think tank, the American Enterprise Institute, tuition has gone up 559 percent in the last three decades and textbook prices have also risen by a staggering 812 percentage in the same period of time. What could possibly lead to such an incredible increase? Inflation? Publishing and shipping costs? Is the KC bookstore really a front for the Mafia? Ok that last one was a joke; the KC Bookstore has no bearing on the cost of our textbooks and are just as subject to the circumstances behind prices as the students. While publishing and shipping costs have also increased over time for all books, the cost for textbooks exceeds the cost for recreational books by a wide margin. The bottom line is that we may now be in the middle of an unsustainable “higher education bubble.”

In a financial bubble, assets like houses are sometimes purchased to be resold at a higher price, and this can produce rapidly escalating prices as people speculate on future pricing; eventually causing a spiral that can provoke abrupt selling of the assets and resulting in another abrupt collapse in price. Because the asset acquired through college attendance is a higher education and cannot be sold, there is no similar factor that would cause a collapse in the value of existing degrees.
However, much like the housing bubble in the last decade, the higher education bubble is a product of cheap credit coupled with popular expectations of increasing returns on investment. In the case of higher education, this means tuition prices increasing even as the supply of college graduates in many fields of study exceeds the demand for their skills. We also have to consider tuition and textbook price increases have exceeded  the cost of living increases and family income growth during the same period.
There is no federal or state standard that colleges have to abide by in terms of selecting books for specific classes. It is actually left to the discretion of each instructor to decide the books that students will need for their classes.
Many colleges, KC included, have found ways to help combat these factors with the campus allowing the students a choice in buying a textbook online as opposed to the bookstore or buying a used book at a decreased cost. Congress actually changed the law so that colleges must show the price difference of the textbooks their classes require between online and on campus stores as a way for students to have easier access to different options.

The KC Bookstore also allows for the student to return the book for a “buyback,” so long as the book is in an acceptable condition upon return.
These may be temporary fixes to the bigger issue; however, the prices for both tuition and textbooks show no signs of slowing down anytime soon.

While many share and understand higher education is important, the costs of achieving that goal may soon exceed the means of the average person.

Beat the Bug

Photo by Grant Worley/THE FLARE
Photo by Grant Worley/THE FLARE

Students and faculty members walk through a battlefield of sickness spreading like wildfire to the unarmed victims they encounter, but with the right guards of protection, one just might be safe from the contagious illnesses at war. Avoiding sickness should be an important responsibility that should be implemented by taking care of your overall health.

To be a surviving soldier in the midst of an illness war, one must start with self.

Make sure every day you wake up, your first responsibility is taking care of your personal hygiene first, and throughout your day.

Morning showers are essential to starting the day off healthy. It allows your body to wake up refreshed, and opens your sinuses and pores.

Practice your oral regiment faithfully. Mornings and bedtime are not the only times you should brush your teeth. Oral care is more than brushing your teeth twice a day, and should be implemented mornings, after meals, bedtime, and before any special occasions. Brushing should also be acquainted with dental floss and mouthwash for a thorough cleanse.

Frequently wash your hands, and try not to touch your face throughout the day.

Eat healthy foods the promote immunity and fights of some internal bacteria.

Wipe everything down with sanitizing wipes and cover with disinfection to kill the spread of contact. Wipes can be used on all door knobs and handles, steering wheel, gear shift, bathroom, bedroom, remotes, countertops, desktops, keypads and mouse at home, school, grocery store baskets, and all other direct contacts you make.

Remember that germs travel freely with EVERYTHING, so be mindful that includes the air we breathe. Disinfectant spray goes a long way in war of fighting off air-borne germs and undetected infectious surfaces. One spray a day goes a long way.

Keep some wipes in your car or bag, and a travel size of sanitizer close by for a quick squirt to kill the dirt. These essentials are beneficial in keeping your hands an acceptable clean until your next good wash.

If you are already sick, please be mindful of others you come in contact with, and take extra precautions to ensure you are not contributing to the sicknesses already floating in the air.

The listed guidelines can help anyone protect themselves from catching an illness, and should be practiced every day to ensure positive results. Take care of yourself and the people around you to defeat the wars of spreading sickness at school.

A nurse is available in the Parks Fitness Center 9 a.m.- noon, Monday-Friday. Student health services are available at no cost.  The campus nurse can be reached at (903) 983-8632. For emergency first aid, an athletic trainer is also available in the Parks Fitness Center.


No perfect way to search for perfection

Relationship_by_Grant WorleyPhoto by Grant Worley / THE FLARE

The ideal mate is a concept that most of us have been thinking about for the majority of our lives, rather it be our parents, grandparents, or friends we have decided what our favorite parts of someone’s personality were. Finding someone that meets the criteria is not always an easy task.

When thinking about the concept of an ideal partner the first thing we gravitate to is loyalty. Finding someone you trust is one of the most important aspects of a relationship. It’s impossible to build a long lasting relationship with someone who has betrayed your trust, or given you any sign as to why you can’t trust them. You shouldn’t be with someone you feel like you constantly have to keep on a leash.

Consider someone who’s sensitive to you and your feelings. You want someone who is going to be understanding and respectful of your emotions. being sensitive doesn’t make you look weak it shows your partner that you are considerate and empathetic and ultimately that you deeply care for them.

You want someone to make you laugh, a sense of humor is always important. No one wants to be in a dull relationship. Continue to be humorous throughout the relationship. treat everyday like it’s an adventure and go out and experience new things, Show your partner that you’re excited to have them in your life!

Ambition is always attractive. Finding a partner who knows what they want and chases after it is comforting and inspiring. A partner with ambition shows you that they have persistence, experience, discipline, determination, and creativity. Ambition naturally leads to those attributes that are essential to success.

The ideal partner is willing to be open with you! A partner who is approachable and receptive to feedback can be a huge aspect of a lasting relationship. When your partner is free-thinking and open-minded, it enables them to express their thoughts, feelings, dreams and desires, which allows you to truly know your partner.

Independence is a huge factor in a relationship. In a relationship both parties should value each other’s interests separate from their own. An independent partner is someone who is sensitive to the other’s wants, needs, and desires. The ideal independent partner will allow you to be a separate person without trying to change you.

A respectful partner is someone who doesn’t try to control you with threatening or manipulative behavior. They are respectful of your boundaries, while at the same time being close to you.

Keep in mind the perfect relationship does not exist and many of these qualities aren’t apparent when we first meet someone. Take the time to get to know your partner and each layer of their personality

Texas residents might see blue

Despite all of us not being able to agree on a candidate to be president, we can all agree this campaign season has been nothing short of wild and ground-breaking.

Consequently, there has been talk of Texas becoming a swing state, meaning instead of it being a ruby red color this election, it might be blue. This disproves the statement: your vote doesn’t matter.

Texas has consistently voted Republican since 1980, when the presidential race was between Jimmy Carter, democrat, and Ronald Reagan, Republican. Thirty-six years of consistently voting a Republican ticket might be changed by this election between the two front runners, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.
Accusations of sexual assault have Republicans disowning Trump; on the other hand, Clinton is being thrown to the side by many because of the accusation of bleaching and deleting emails. This has caused many voters to turn toward third-party candidates, Gary Johnson, a Libertarian, and Jill Stein from the Green Party.

Many people say voting third party is throwing your vote away, but if you truly knew how the Electoral College worked, this can be proven false.

Each state has a different number of electors depending on the number of senators the state has, plus the number of U.S. senators it has, lending Texas 33 electoral votes.

Finally, electors cast their votes for the candidates. Usually, the electors choose the candidate with the most direct votes from that state. There are some states that have laws requiring the electors to vote for the popular candidate in their state; Texas is not one of those states. Some electors are bound to a political party and vote for that candidate. Unfortunately, the fact electors can go against the state’s popular vote takes away the direct aspect of voting. In reality, Russia has a more direct voting system than America because of the fact the electoral college does not exist there, according to Howstuffworks.com.

Although, the system may not be the best for us, as voters and American citizens we would like to rely on our representatives who do speak for us to let our voices be heard. That is how the system should work.

Consequently, in this election, the usual Republican voting Texan electors have been swaying away from the Grand Old Party because of the statements Trump has made during debates and in previous conversations with television personality, Billy Bush, who because of his own laughter and statements, was fired from NBC’s morning news program, “The Today Show.”

The possibility of Texas turning blue, or any other color, is an actual possibility. Your vote may encourage electors to vote your way, or it may not; but, the main thing to remember is your vote is important.

Period after Spring Break vital to final grades

Flare illustration by Cody Davis.
Flare illustration by Cody Davis.

Now that spring break has ended, it is time to get back in the swing of things.

The vacation that was supposed to go by slowly actually flew by.

It is already back to homework, exams and constantly feeling tired.

If students could buckle down and study, then all would all be fine.

Instead, most would rather relax and do all the things they were doing over spring break for a little longer.

Breaking the post spring break “blahs” is a difficult task. Many students come back from break feeling this way, but here are a few helpful hints to getting back into the school routine:

Cori Newsom wrote on thedustertoday.com that students need to prepare for battle. Coming back from a week with nothing to do and suddenly being swamped with homework and tests may cause students to become overly stressed. It is important to always know what your goals are and figure out your schedule in advance.

Also it is not recommended to pull all-nighters studying for an exam. Recharging your batteries is a necessity for students to do well in all aspects of life.

Emily Elling posted on Disneybaby.com that a good way to fight these “blahs” is to bring nature inside. Buy yourself some fresh flowers and bring the sights and smells of springtime to your home to lift your spirits.

Another great idea is to treat yourself every now and then. A new haircut or brand new pair of shorts for spring will surely brighten your mood just in time to finish out the semester.

If you are the type of person who likes to find motivation to get you through things, then begin planning a summer vacation.

During these long and dreary days of studying, research a place to go with a friend or loved one. The excitement about your summer trip should motivate you to work hard the rest of the semester.

And if nothing else works, remember there are only 28 school days until the last day of the Spring Semester!


EDITORIAL: Computer literacy test decision right call in technological world

Flare Cartoon by Cody Davis.
Flare Cartoon by Cody Davis.

The new hot topic around campus is that BCIS, known as Business Computer Information Systems, will not technically be required anymore toward your degree. Students will be required in the fall to take a computer literacy test. If they don’t pass, they will have to take the computer course.
Even though the class is a lot of work and can be confusing at times, we believe it is a class students need to take for our society today if they don’t pass the computer literacy test.
Think about a normal day and all the technology we use, from texting on our phone to typing an email on your computer. Texting hasn’t even been around all of our generation’s life. The fact that there is a portable computer like a laptop now is not an old concept either.
The point we are trying to get across is technology is rapidly changing around us and will continue to change. We cannot lag behind the times. We have to move forward and adapt to the changes in technology, because after all it’s a way of life.
Some argue their future occupation will not require work with computers. Most of us in college are in our twenties, and – let’s be honest –we don’t know what our life holds.
You might graduate with a degree, then realize once we’re in the work field, that is not what you want to do.
Most everything these days deal with technology; for example even cosmetology.
Being technology competent is absolutely necessary these days. Having to pass a basic computer literacy test needs to be a minimum requirement. If students can’t, then it makes sense to require them to take a basic computer course.

Editorial: Reinstated Criminal Justice degree good move

The KC Board of Trustees recently approved reviving the Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree in Criminal Justice. The course is set to begin Fall 2014 at KC.
This program is designed for students who enter the program upon high school graduation, and non-traditional students who want to be a part of the program after graduation from the Basic Peace Officer Course. This program also will ultimately increase enrollment opportunities for students who are currently deployed on active military duty.
The program was terminated in 2005 at KC because of a short-lived push by the Commission on Law Enforcement in the early 2000s. The statute attempted to require a bachelor’s degree for basic licensure. Now the program is back and it has the potential to be stronger and more effective than ever before. New students who successfully complete the four-semester, 60-hour program will graduate with an associate’s degree in criminal justice and will hold the certification necessary to become peace officers in the state of Texas.
Kim Vickers, executive director of the AAS program, believes that the KC police academy is the best academy in the state of Texas.
“I immediately agreed to the proposal to add this program to KC. It is definitely a top-shelf program in the state,” said Vickers.
This new degree will fall under the Business, Technology, Language Development and Public Services Division at KC.
Michael Ferguson is doing everything he can to make sure this program will be a success.
“This program is designed as a practitioner- focused, rather than theory-focused, degree,” Ferguson said. “We are talking with highly qualified people who currently work in law enforcement field whom we want to hire to teach specific courses for this degree.”
The new program is sure to be a big success at KC. We support and stand beside this program, and we applaud the KC board for approving this proposal.

Debunking Super Bowl myths

With Super Bowl Sunday coming up we thought we would share a few interesting, hilarious or depressing myths.

To kick off the list is a myth that may have you gagging.


At halftime, when millions of television viewers simultaneously head to the bathroom, municipal sewer systems have burst from the sudden rush of water.

Fact or fiction?

This happens to be fiction. Super Bowl XL,  which had the second-highest national audience ever of 45.87 million did not unleash any toilet troubles.


The auto repair industry loves the Super Bowl because Americans are more likely to crash their cars after the game’s final gun.

Fact or fiction?

Researchers at the University of Toronto examined this myth and determined that automobile accidents increase 40 percent in the hours after the Super Bowl, particularly in cities and towns closest to the home of the losing team.


Calls to gambling-addiction hotlines increase immediately after the Super Bowl.

Fact or fiction?

The US gaming industry pulled in $84.8 billion in 2005, gets a bounce during Super Bowl Sunday and the next day phones are ringing off the hook at Gamblers Anonymous (88-GA-HELPERS).


More than half of all avocados consumed annually in the United States are sold in the week leading up to Super Bowl Sunday.

Fact or fiction?

Americans will eat about 80 million pounds of guacamole, but that only accounts for about 3 percent of annual U.S. avocado consumption.


More women are victims of domestic violence on Super Bowl Sunday than any other day of the year.

Fact or fiction?

Unfortunately a study from Indiana University- Bloomington found a slight increase in domestic violence on Super Bowl Sunday, but this is small in comparison to holidays such as Memorial Day and Christmas.


The outcome of the Super Bowl predicts the stock market’s performance for the coming year?

Fact or fiction?

According to Snopes.com if a team from the old American Football League wins, the stock market goes down; if one from the old National Football League wins, the stock markets goes up.

Robert Stovall, an investment strategist, tracks the indicator and has been accurate for 34 for 43 Super Bowls played. However, he does not recommend investors act upon this.

Myths were taken from MSNBC.com, Parade magazine and Snopes.com.

SGA withering away

The purpose of Student Government Association is to lead a healthier institution and better experience for all students, according to the American Student Government Association website.

The last issue of The Flare for the Spring 2013 Semester included an editorial describing SGA’s need to increase its presence on campus.

The Your View question exemplified that need, with 76 percent of surveyed students stating that they were not aware of the SGA and its role on campus.

This year 79 percent of students surveyed stated they were not aware of SGA and its role on campus.

SGA is comprises of an Executive Board, a House of Representatives and members who communicate with students and address student needs, concerns and social well-being, as well as serving as representatives to the administration to make a difference on campus and in the community.

Until this week, all positions have been vacant and, because of a lack of members the Executive Board, will be selected by Edward Williams, director of residential life.

Ross Costanzo, assistant director of student life, said five students will be elected to fill these positions sometime this week. The organization has two other members.

Seven students out of 5,920 does not seem sufficient to voice the opinions of all students.

We believe if SGA does not construct a stronger foundation, there will no longer be an SGA at KC. If no one participates in this organization, it will go away without anyone noticing.

The club page on the KC website has not been updated since 2011. It still lists the Executive Board for that school year.

KC needs students who want to be involved in the KC community and make it better as a whole.

Also in last semester’s issue, Costanzo said he hoped SGA would reach out to other students by including representatives from each club and organization on campus.

That is easier said than done.

In order to attract potential SGA members from other student organizations, current members will need to be more adamant about raising awareness of its existence on campus, such as sending a member to other club meetings.

If you are interested in joining SGA, call Costanzo at 903-988-7504 or email rcostanzo@kilgore.edu.

Expand SGA plan 2013


ut of about 6,000 students, 16 of those students make up the Student Government Association, five officers and 11 members.

SGA needs more of a presence on campus.

SGA should work toward the common goal of making KC even better than what it is today.

The KC SGA comprises of elected student representatives who provide a forum for student input, assist in the coordination of student activities and voice opinions to the administration in developing policies that affect students.

The SGA provides support to student clubs and organizations. Current SGA officers  elect new officers every spring semester to fill vacancies.

According to the KC SGA Constitution, this organization should be made up of an “Executive Board, a House of Representatives and members.”  If you ask us, 16 members do not seem adequate to voice the opinions of the students, but how can SGA help our college if our students will not get involved?

SGA meets every week during the semester. Members gather to talk about issues concerning the college and discuss plans for events on campus. Students are always welcomed and encouraged to attend these meetings to allow the Executive Board to listen to concerns or suggestions.

We believe a strong SGA will make our entire institution stronger. A more student-involved SGA can help KC recruit new students, retain existing students and improve overall student and alumni involvement.

Ross Costanzo, assistant director of student life, says next year he hopes SGA will reach out to other students by having representatives from each club and organization on campus.

We need leaders, students who take pride in the KC community, students who want to be involved and students who want to better the college as a whole.

We hope that SGA members will work to involve their peers in some form of extracurricular activities with the ultimate goal of enhancing the college experience and instilling more school spirit.

Use common cents

When it comes to managing money on a savings account most people in our generation do not comprehend. Our generation tends to want the best of the best even if it means giving our last few dollars to get it. We need to learn that Social Security and retirement funds are not looking too great for us in the future. So why not start saving now?

First, you can start by setting up a goal to budget your money and decide how much and how often you are willing to save. Come up with a certain amount you want to reach either weekly, monthly or possibly for the entire year.

Now it is time to cut a few luxuries out of your new budget. We sometimes buy things we do not need and that is what people call “buying under the impulse.” That shirt or those shoes might look good, but ask yourself before making the purchase if you really need them.

Then there is credit card debt that is easy to rack up.

According to business majors ask.com, many college students give in to the “buy now, pay later” method. It is tempting and easy to spend a lot of money when all you are doing is swiping a card. If this is something you do often, try hiding or canceling your card until you can get your spending habit under control.

There are plenty of ways you can save and budget your money. Give up bad habits, carpool and bring a lunch instead of eating out every day. Life is not all about the expensive clothes and shoes, so try buying generic brands and spice up your look with accessories. You can also stay inside and find something to do that does not involve money, such as a movie or game night with friends.

Saving and budgeting your money takes you out of your element and it may seem like it is boring, but ask yourself, “Will it be worth it in the future?”

Web of lies

Illustration by Kelly Gillit / THE FLARE

The World Wide Web is filled with facts and information we rely on to complete assignments, conduct research and stay informed with the world around us but it is also contaminated with opinion and false statements.

Social media are bombarded with lies and theories people concoct to gain attention or to confuse people into believing the unbelievable.

Take for instance the daily status updates that we may see as we scroll down our newsfeed from Facebook or Twitter that pertain to legendary creatures, fraudulent money schemes or weight-loss myths.

Do we really believe that there are real life big foots or that you will receive thousands of dollars just by participating in a company or even that a single pill can make you lose 30 pounds overnight?

Of course there are things out there that we may be unfamiliar with or that might seem foreign to us, but most have an explanation.

Don’t you think that if big foot were real, some crazed scientist or gun-carrying lunatic would have captured the creature by now or that if a 250-pound woman could take a single pill and awake the next morning with the figure of Beyonce more people would be doing it?

Dating sites also fit into this category.

We may all have heard or witnessed stories of couples meeting online and falling madly in love, but what we don’t realize is the risk that they take to share that special connection.

Dating sites are advertised as safe, effective ways to meet friendly people without experiencing the awkwardness of face-to-face greetings.

Online dating may be beneficial to some but how safe can it really be?  Who is to say that the person you are communicating with actually shares the same face as his/her profile picture?

In recent news, the media went into a frenzy over Notre Dame’s linebacker Manti Te’o’s three-year relationship with a nonexistent female.

Te’o admitted that he fell in love with this woman he had never met in person and shared an emotional connection over the phone and online with her.

The woman turned out to be a hoax, a plot to trick Te’o into false love.

According to the National Sex Offender Public Website, the majority of juvenile sex crime victims meet their predator willingly. The most common first-encounter of a predator with a victim take place in an online chat room.

This is not to frighten or stray people into deactivating their social accounts but to inform of what dangers could be lurking behind the mouse.

To stay better aware of actual facts there are Internet reference sites such as Snopes.com that provide a definitive source for urban legends, folklore, myths, rumors and misinformation.

Major newspapers and news networks such as USA Today, The Huffington Post, CNN, The New York Times or FOX News can also be useful for fact checking.

People use social sites to impress the likings of their peers when in actuality they could be pretending to be someone they’re not and of course we believe what we see, right?

In the words of Benjamin Franklin, “Believe none of what you hear and half of what you see.”