Children Risk Future Job Prospects by Over-Sharing Online

New research from the UK finds that most parents worry their children are harming their future job prospects by over-sharing online.

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More than half of parents, 58 percent, fear their children are ruining their reputations and future career prospects through the content they are posting online, according to a survey of 1,500 UK parents conducted by AgeChecked, a service that provides online age checks for websites that sell age-restricted goods and services.

On Social Media

The research, which was carried out as part of AgeChecked’s latest report on what parents fear the most about their children’s online activity, finds that the majority of parents, 71 percent, worries about what their children are doing on social media sites.
Parents are also concerned that their children may be accessing social media sites too young. Many sites have a minimum age requirement of 14 and yet the study reports that 59 percent of children have used such sites by the age of 10.
More than half of parents, 57 percent, say that current online age restrictions designed to protect children are not going far enough, and 60 percent of parents want better age controls on social media channels to keep their children safe.

Employment Implications

In releasing its findings, AgeChecked points to a recent CareerBuilder survey, which shows 70 percent of potential employers have searched a potential candidate’s social media profiles, and more than half, 54 percent, didn’t hire someone because of something they saw.
Among the social media content that caused employers not to hire a candidate, according to the CareerBuilder survey, are: candidate posted provocative or inappropriate photographs, videos or information, 39 percent; candidate posted information about them drinking or using drugs, 38 percent; and candidate had discriminatory comments related to race, gender or religion, 32 percent.
Employers responding to the CareerBuilder survey also cite these reasons, uncovered by a social media search: candidate bad-mouthed their previous company or fellow employee, 30 percent; candidate lied about qualifications, 27 percent; and candidate was linked to criminal behavior, 26 percent.

Cause for Concern

“It is understandable that parents are concerned about what their children are posting online and who they’re communicating with. Children are now using social media sites on a regular basis from a young age, and it’s not always possible for parents to supervise internet access 24/7, given that it is so easily accessible nowadays,” said Alastair Graham, CEO of AgeChecked.
“While access to the internet can be hugely enjoyable and educational, it can really hamper future successes if children are posting careless or potentially embarrassing content. Not only that, but children don’t always understand who can see the things they’re posting on social media sites – their accounts may not be as private as they think.
“There’s an increasing need for businesses and website owners to work with parents to educate young people on the dangers and risks of posting personal or damaging information online. It may seem harmless at the time but have dire consequences in the future. Safeguards must be put in place to protect young people against these modern risks.”

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