One quarter of people between the ages of 18 to 25 are friends with their employers on Facebook, potentially exposing career damaging content, according to a study by internet security firm AVG.

One quarter of people between the ages of 18 to 25 are friends with their employers on Facebook, potentially exposing career damaging content, according to a study by internet security firm AVG.

 
AVG surveyed 4,400 people in the given age bracket in 11 different countries on their social network habits as part of Digital Baggage, the sixth instalment of its Digital Diaries study.
 
While one in four add their boss on Facebook, the majority of those who do have social media links with their colleagues are not careful about what they are posting, which might harm their job prospects. 
 
60 percent do not restrict content from co-workers, which is possible on Facebook, albeit less intuitive than the Circles feature of Google+. The US was top of the list with 59 percent for not restricting profiles, followed by Italy at 58 percent and Spain at 54 percent. Japanese workers are more cautious, with only 27 percent leaving their profiles open to co-workers.
 
Worse yet, 13 percent post “abusive content” insulting their boss or company after a bad day at work, which could be seen by a colleague and used against them, or in some cases might even by seen by the boss him or herself. Of those asked, Italian young workers are most likely at 18 percent to vent about their job online, while only 10 percent do so in France and New Zealand.
 
Many workers also have inappropriate content online, such as images they may not want their employers to see. The Spanish topped the list by far with 80 percent, while the UK and US were much better, with only 25 percent and 21 percent posting potentially damaging photos.
 
 
For those who do not believe online presence matters in the workplace, they might want to think again. The study found that 15 percent of Italian young people had been asked about things they posted online in an interview, while that figure is 13 percent for the US, nine percent for Australia, and six percent for the UK. This is a number that is likely to grow as more companies view the internet as an important medium for their identity, which could be damaged by the poor online identities of their employees.
 
“AVG’s latest research clearly shows young people today have a comfort with using online social networks that is leading to blurring between their professional and private lives,” said Tony Anscombe, Senior Security Evangelist at AVG. “It seems obvious that posting abusive content about a boss or workplace is not very sensible, but it’s important to understand that not only could it damage a person’s existing career, it could also negatively impact on future opportunities too. Our research findings indicate that today’s 18-25 year old ‘digital natives’ need to be more aware of their online brand as something employers and recruiters are increasingly investigating.”
 
Image Credit: AVG