On Your Side: MySpace Job Danger

By: Jeff Anderson Email
By: Jeff Anderson Email

March 21, 2007

If you don't want your children living under your roof forever, you might want to keep tabs on what they're putting on their MySpace or Facebook pages.

The things your child puts on there could keep them from getting a job.

Social network sites like MySpace can be a lot of fun both to post things on your own page and also to look at other people's pages.

But if your child posts a few too many partying pictures or makes a few too many controversial comments, it might hurt them later.

Millions of students across the country use MySpace and Facebook as their own online public diaries. They post pieces of their life: pictures, blogs, and music. It's a great way to let your friends know what you're doing.

It's also a great way to let strangers know what you're doing.

Melissa Ziegler holds seminars to let students know that being too free with their MySpace pages can come back to bite them.

"Because students don't realize what they're putting out there on the internet is open for all to see...more specifically, for employers to see," she said.

Translation: those crazy spring break pictures could break your chances of getting hired.

A recent survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers says at least 20 percent of the polled businesses do check out potential employee's social network pages.

Many more say they might start doing it in the future.

12 On Your Side called a number of Augusta-area employers asking the same question. Only one admitted it--the Aiken County director of human resources--and she says there have been several occasions where she hasn't hired someone because of what she found.

Now this doesn't mean students should get rid of their pages. Just use a little more discretion with them.

"It is kind of scary," said ASU student Nikita Britt. "I was one of the smart ones to not put so much info out there, and I have noticed the privacy settings on there."

That may be the key: reduce what you post and don't be afraid to click the privacy setting that limits who can see what's on your page. It may keep you from getting into trouble.

And this isn't just about helping yourself get hired. If your child is posting too much personal information like their address, birthday or phone number, that can lead to identity theft or even a stalker.

Just because a picture or comment is deleted from the page, it is not gone forever. There are some ways to still find it later.


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