Defending Yourself…On and Off the Internet
Safety Tips for Students on a College Campus
FARGO, N.D. — You can never be too prepared when it comes to protecting yourself on and off the internet.
We talked with different professionals throughout the F-M area on how college students can better prepare themselves.
Many different colleges around the U.S., including NDSU, MSUM and Concordia College, have put programs in place to protect their students.
Some of the programs include texting alerts, blue light phone stations that contact the police and campus escorts.
Mariah Prussia is a professional MMA fighter and owns her own gym that offers a self–defense program.
She said taking a self–defense class can prepare young girls to defend themselves.
“It gets you in that defensive mode and makes you react, and the shock factor, that’s the key thing that stops individuals is shock,” said Prussia. “Is this actually happening right now, so they freeze. A self–defense course is going to prevent that freezing moment because you had already experienced it in a class.”
Prussia said if someone is coming towards you and looks suspicious don’t hide.
Make noise to draw attention to yourself.
“If he comes approaching you, the last thing you want to do is step backwards,” she said. “Stepping backwards is a sign that they know that you’re in fear, right, and that they’re getting the control. So you don’t ever want to give an assailant control.”
Jessica Schindeldecker with the Fargo Police Department also has reminders. “If you believe that you’re being followed, whether you’re on foot or in the vehicle, don’t ever go home. Drive to the police station, drive to a safe place, drive somewhere you know maybe a church, or a gas station, somewhere that is well populated.”
The digital age brings more ways for an attacker to target someone.
This past fall, several female students from NDSU, Concordia, and MSUM reported being stalked by the same man.
Reports said one of the ways he harassed them was through social media, something Public Safety Director Jim Schumann at MSUM said is easy to do.
“It’s just an example again of social media and how you have to be careful with your information and if somebody is pretty persistent in what they’re going to do, they can change names and change accounts,” he said.
Officer Schindeldecker also offered some advice. “Be very limited as to what information you are providing on your social media sites such as don’t put your phone number, don’t put your address and your date of birth. Just take extra precautions.”
Police say another way to protect your information is to turn off your location services.
You can do so by going into your privacy settings, clicking on location settings and clicking it off.
“Knowledge is key,” said Prussia. “With anything in life, whether it’s a job, personal…so again, prepare yourself because you never know when or if you could be a victim.”