Social websites risk youngsters future careers

November 23rd, 2007 - 2:45 pm ICT by admin  

London, November 23 (ANI): The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) in Britain has warned that millions of young people are risking their future careers by posting their personal details on social networking websites.

In a recent survey of 2,000 youngsters, aged 14 to 21, the commission found that more than half of the subjects were making their personal details public.

Seventy-one per cent of the people surveyed said that they would not want colleges and employers to carry out a web search on them before they had removed some material.

The ICO stressed the need for the youngsters to be aware of their electronic footprint.

According to the commission, the material being posted by young people on social networks such as Facebook and MySpace might put them at the risk of identity fraud.

“Many young people are posting content online without thinking about the electronic footprint they leave behind, the BBC quoted ICO deputy commissioner David Smith as saying.

“The cost to a person’s future can be very high if something undesirable is found by the increasing number of education institutions and employers using the internet as a tool to vet potential students or employees,” he added.

Two-thirds of the youngsters surveyed admitted that they had accepted friend requests from people whom they did not even know.

The survey also revealed that about 60 per cent of the subjects posted their date of birth, a quarter put their job title, and almost one in 10 gave their home address on social networking websites.

However, the study also revealed that about 95 per cent of the youngsters were concerned about their personal details being passed on to advertisers or other websites, while about 54 per cent of the subjects cared a lot about how their personal information was used.

“This shows that when young people are made aware that their details could be being passed between parties - legitimate or unscrupulous - they are worried, Smith said.

“We have to help teenagers wise up to every aspect of the internet age they’re living in. It may be fun but unfortunately it is not the safe space many think it is,” he added.

The ICO has launched a new website to spread awareness among youngsters about their information rights. (ANI)

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