British youth unaware of their digital footprint

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Are youth really this clueless about their digital footprint? The Information Commissioner’s Office in Great Britain has just released the results of a survey of British youth ages 14-21. “Six in 10 have never considered that what they put online now might be permanent and could be accessed years into the future.”

In fact, some youths online make conscious decisions to reveal personal information to expand their network of “friends:

“Two thirds (eight in 10 girls aged 16-17) accept people they don’t know as ‘friends’ on social networking sites and over half leave parts of their profile public specifically to attract new people.”

There is a perception that, in general, young people do not pause to consider the implications of their activities online. This can result in cyber-bullying, strained relationships with your real life friends, uncomfortable conversations with your parents, or even your future employers.

“Initial thoughts – who cares? Subsequent thoughts – omg!!!” (Female, 14, Scotland)

For that reason, the Information Commissioner’s Office has launched a site aimed at young Britons. It is one more piece of help in a growing community of resources like the Media Awareness Network (who have launched a useful french-language site), ThinkUKnow and others.

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