The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) is the UK's independent authority set up to promote access to official information and to protect personal information. On Friday, the ICO released the results of a survey whose findings suggest that teenagers are recklessly posting personal information, photos, diaries and blog comments on social networking sites, blogs and personal web pages. These posts, the agency warns, may come back to haunt teenagers:
As many as four and a half million young people (71%) 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.
In this case, young people are defined as 14-21 years old.
David Smith, Deputy Commissioner for the ICO, said: "Many young people are posting content online without thinking about the electronic footprint they leave behind. 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."An argument in favor of anonymity perhaps? (Devin Stewart has written extensively on the debate over online anonymity. You can join the conversation here.)
The ICO has launched a new site to help UK teens safely navigate the online space? Will it work? Could government possibly know more than teenagers about social networking? Does the internet make it easier for teens to make foolish choices? Haven't parents always worried that kids will make tragic mistakes in their teenage years and "Throw their life away?"
You tell me. Just be careful what you write........