POLL: Facebook follies and Twitter turmoil can ruin future career

ORANGE teenager Caelan Maxon said based on what comes across his Facebook news feed, he is not surprised 80 per cent of regional NSW teenagers did not realise the potential negative ramifications of their online posts.

Telstra’s cyber safety survey asked 1001 young adults aged between 18 and 25 years across Australia, to reflect on what it has been like growing up with social media and the internet and what advice they would give those entering high school today.

When asked what advice they would give their younger self about the internet, the number one tip provided by all those surveyed was “think carefully before posting” - with 43 per cent admitting that adverse types of content they have written was written while under online peer pressure.

Mr Maxon said the latest “neknominate” craze sweeping the globe which involves people skolling copious amounts of alcohol, was not only stupid but was a classic example of things you should not allow to be on the internet. 

“I set my privacy settings so that if anyone wants to tag me in something, I have to accept it first,” he said.

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Business Enterprise Centre CEO Bruce Buchanan said he screens all future employees on the internet to see if they would be compatible in his business. 

“Employers look at the posts and think about how that person might reflect their business and in some cases the posts may have financial impacts,” he said.

“Particularly in regional areas where it’s a bit like A Country Practice where gossip travels fast,” he said. 

Orange teenager Angus Niven said he had seen and heard a few stories about the severe consequences of posting online. 

“You definitely see some stuff out there that is pretty bad,” he said.

“It would definitely affect your chances of getting a job.”

Mr Buchanan likened posting online to “getting a tattoo of your girlfriend’s face and then breaking up with her” because what you post online can stay there despite attempts at deleting it. 

Sixty-one per cent of survey respondents in regional NSW admitted they are more concerned now than they were as young teens about the impact their online reputations can have in the offline world.

nicole.kuter@fairfaxmedia.com.au

TIPS FOR PARENTS:

- Talk with your kids about their digital lives and let your children know you’re always there for them.

- Protect personal information - teach your children how to turn on privacy settings.

- Encourage children to ‘think before they click’, to think about content and the consequences of posting it.

- Be an offline supporter. Encourage kids to have some screen-free time each day and turn off devices at bedtime.

- Teach kids to treat others the same way they’d like to be treated online and be zero-tolerant to rude or mean online behaviour.

- Don’t just talk about the right thing to do; be a role model with your own digital habits.

TIPS FOR TEENAGERS:

- Protect your personal information. Turn up privacy settings, use strong passwords, change them regularly and don’t share them.

- Think before you click - think about content and the consequences of posting it.

- Remember, your phone doesn’t rule your life. Have some screen-free time each day and turn off devices at bedtime.

- Treat others as you’d like to be treated online.

- Talk to an adult you trust if you if someone you know is being cyber bullied or you see something online that upsets you.

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