Log out. Seriously.

Reminding Ferris students to log out of their accounts when on a campus computer

Raquelle, your mother emailed you. The test results are normal.

You missed a pretty sweet party, Spence. Your friend Duwan posted the pictures. Mike was pretty smashed.

You have new Farmville notifications, Tina. Really? Farmville?

None of this was information I actively sought out. I had no intention of seeing it or knowing it. But I do know it because these are the first things I see when I open an internet browser on a university computer.

Now, I do not know the problem students have with logging out of social media or email sites. Have they never used a public computer? Are they too familiar to a private laptop or smartphone? Who are their parents and where did these folks go wrong? I have a secret for you: exiting a browser does NOT log you out of a personal site unless the computer is shut down. And if you use a university-owned computer in the middle of the day to check Facebook or Twitter, chances are somebody’s going to use it after you and be able to see all your personal information.

I’m a fairly respectful guy. When I open an internet browser to find students have failed to log out of Facebook, Twitter or email, I politely log them out and log in again using my own personal credentials. But not everybody is this nice. School computers are used by everybody—townies, weirdos, assholes and downright criminals.

Failing to log out can result in everything from minor annoyances to serious identity theft. Chances are, you may have received a confirmation email from Amazon or eBay or wherever with a username and password. A person can access that information, which can lead to them charging ridiculous sums to your credit card. This is a worst case scenario.

Other lesser consequences include having your password changed by someone who was feeling particularly puckish, being enrolled in classes you had no intention of taking (and being charged!) or witnessing the dissolution of your epic online farm (seriously, Tina, it’s 2016).

So if you don’t want unwanted pictures of dead dogs posted to your Facebook by an unwashed drifter who wandered into the library, I suggest moving the cursor over that little arrow, clicking “log out” and feeling seriously proud of yourself.