Are social networking sites storing up problems for the next generation of workers?

A survey of social networking habits and trends by the Information Commissioner's Office suggests - '4.5 million young Brits’ futures could be compromised by their electronic footprint'.

It seems that one of the reasons behind commissioning the survey is to warn young people that the online content they create could return to haunt them in both the near and distant future, i.e. 'damage the prospects of young people and leave many more vulnerable to identity fraud'.

Further commentary from the findings point to the employment related hazards of creating online content:

As many as four and a half million young people (71 per cent) would not want a college, university or potential employer to conduct an Internet search on them unless they could first remove content from social networking sites, according to new research by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

But almost six in 10 have never considered that what they put online now might be permanent and could be accessed years into the future.

There is also possibilities of fraud from engaging in the same activities:

As well as not thinking ahead before posting information on the web, the survey of Britons aged 14-21 also revealed that youngsters’ online behaviour is a gift to potential fraudsters.

Two thirds (eight in 10 girls aged 16-17) accept people they don’t know as ‘friends’ on social networking sites and over half leave parts of their profile public specifically to attract new people.

More than seven in 10 are not concerned that their personal profile can be viewed by strangers and 7 per cent don’t think privacy settings are important and actively want everyone to see their full profile.


Only time will tell if employers will really make big decisions based on what happens on blogging and social networking platforms.

However, if employers crossed off their list every person who had a misdemeanour against their name then they'd be no one to employ.

See 4.5 million young Brits’ futures could be compromised by their electronic footprint for more details.

1 comment:

Misha said...

Those are quite the statistics to think upon. The area between social and professional life is becoming muddier and our lives are under the microscope 24/7. Though I have my online social networks, I try very hard to keep my personal and professional lives separate.

Yes, online networks come in handy, but although they may cause problems for the next generation, they already are for today’s workers. There are quite a few stories floating around about employees aged 18-50 with inappropriate photos and stories that happened last week or 25 years ago. One 45 year old nearly lost her job over something that happened in her younger days.

Online networks can also act as a double-edged sword for a company. As Samantha on BLT Management’s blog points out, “As with any site where the public are allowed to contribute, you could receive a bad write-up.” The negative comments could come from a disgruntled employee or someone else entirely.