ifIknew is a health initiative for young adults that uses a multi media approach, including social media and in person programs, to address the contemporary issues that impact the well-being, self-image, careers, and relationships of people in their 20's and 30's.

If I Knew is a prevention education project that raises awareness about risky behaviors that can profoundly impact lives.

For Facebook “friends” - Oops, I mean Real Friends, ONLY!

Sarah Therly* has confirmed you as a friend.  You now have 1,456 friends. When Facebook originally designed the concept of confirming and declining friend requests, it was supposed to be a function of privacy. Where is the privacy now? Some people have close to 2,000 friends, 1,400 of them people that they have met only one time!  I often question some of my friends’ decisions to put up risqué pictures of themselves on Facebook. The answer they usually give me is a puzzling “Well, I have set up the ‘privacy’ so that only my friends can see.”  But with so many “friends,“ everyone can see!

At a time when parents, employers and schools are looking to Facebook accounts to learn a little bit more about a person, are these the kinds of pictures you want them to see? With that many friends, you don’t realize who is seeing your pictures, comments and posts. Another one posted a comment that contained profanity. We asked him if he would get up and say that post if all 1,068 of his Facebook friends were sitting in a room together. His answer, obviously, was an emphatic “NO!”

Did he get the point, though? The Facebook privacy settings allow you a little more secrecy than an unsecured account, but when you have many friends, often many you don’t even know, then you’re defying the purpose of these added boundaries. I implore my fellow- Facebook users to go through their friend list and see how many of these “friends” are actually people that they would feel comfortable knowing every single part of their lives.

To prove my point, we recently put Adam* to the test. We picked out 5 pictures from his Facebook that we felt he should be more discreet about. These pictures included pictures of him drinking, shirtless and risqué pictures with girls. We then went through his Facebook friends list and asked him if he would like these pictures to be seen by each person.  We listed off his mother, his boss, his ex-girlfriend, a family friend who worked in the university system…he stopped us there and acknowledged that he got our point. That night Adam deleted over 500 of his Facebook friends.

* the names have been changes to protect the guilty..