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A new survey conducted by Junior Achievement and Deloitte finds that teens fully expect to access social networking sites on-the-job. Will they get a rude awakening, or will this be the status quo by the time they enter the workforce?

I think we have yet to determine the answer to this one, and it will likely depend on what happens in the next few years. Employers need to realize that policies will have to be created and they need to really figure out their stance sooner than later. I’ve been an advocate of social media guidelines, and those who haven’t may be after reading the results of this poll.

I’ve included the entire press release for your reading pleasure:

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., Dec. 9 /PRNewswire/ — Online social networks have become so central to teens’ lifestyles that they would consider their ability to access them during working hours when weighing a job offer. This is according to the seventh annual Junior Achievement/Deloitte Teen Ethics Survey, which focused on the ethical implications of the popularity of social networking.

Nearly nine-in-10 (88 percent) teens surveyed use social networks every day, with 70 percent saying they participate in social networking an hour or more daily. More than half (58 percent) said they would consider their ability to access social networks at work when considering a job offer from a potential employer. This comes as many organizations have begun implementing policies that limit access to social networks during the workday due to concerns about unethical usages, such as time theft, spreading rumors about co-workers or managers and leaking proprietary information, among other reasons.

Most of the teens surveyed feel prepared to make ethical decisions at work (82 percent) and a significant majority of teens say they do not behave unethically while using social networks (83 percent). Yet, despite this confidence in the integrity of their online behavior, significant numbers of teens do not consider the reactions of specific groups of influencers in their lives when posting content on social networks. Specifically, 40 percent do not consider the potential reactions of college admissions officers, 38 percent do not consider the reactions of present or future employers, and 30 percent do not consider their parents’ reactions. Moreover, 16 percent readily admitted to behavior that included posting content embarrassing to others, spreading rumors and pretending to be someone other than themselves. Ultimately, more than half of those who did admit to posting this type of content about others (54 percent) said they later regretted doing so.

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The good folks over at eModeration have impressed me once again with their amazing insight into what it takes to successfully moderate communities populated with teens and tweens. In their latest white paper, How to Moderate Teens and Tweens, author and company CEO Tamara Littleton reviews some of the  common online behaviors of our youth that could lead danger right to their doorstep.

Much of the information was new to me, as my experience has largely been with moderating and managing adult online communities.

As a community professional I was surprised to learn some of what I’d never considered but as a parent I was  grateful for the information which has certainly given me a heads up on what to discuss with my daughters about online activity and what I should look for when considering which communities they are allowed to access.

Here is an excerpt:

“In our experience of moderating online environment for tweens and teens we find that tweens in particular are more likely to give up personal information about themselves online. This is the single biggest problem for moderators.”

Such personal information, according to eModeration,  could include phone numbers and street names and with teens, is often conveyed using clever wording or clues in an effort to fly underneath the radar. When filters are present, teens get creative and might type something like this: “My number is Too Tree Tree Ate On Fort Hive Steven.”

Alarmed yet? Wait, there’s more. This comment was taken directly from a large children’s brand:

“your my hero as i have no dad. i’m your biggest fan. please call me. my number is (XXX-XXXX)

Here’s another eye-opening excerpt, which the report says includes the jigsaw pieces of which could be enough to identify and befriend a child for a predator:

“My name is Louise and I love your shows! Are you coming to Iowa anytime soon for a show? I love to play soccer. I play number 11. and I know your favourite animal is a lion which is my school mascot.”

Here’s why this should cause concern. Consider this: If there is one middle school in Iowa with a school mascot of a lion, one could find the school, go to a soccer practice and see the young girl wearing a shirt with number 11.

I don’t know about you but that pretty much raises my spider senses to a new level. This is an excellent  whitepaper filled with highly valuable information and is definitely worth your time.

If you’re a community professional this is a topic on which you should become knowledgeable.   If you’re a parent, this is information you can’t afford to be without.

Kudos to eModeration for continuing to provide safe online environments for kids and keeping us all in the loop on their findings.

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This is a personal blog. The opinions expressed here represent my own and not those of my employer. Feel free to challenge me, disagree with me, or tell me I’m completely nuts in the comments section of each blog entry.

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