Education

Tracking Student Views on Social Networking

By Katie Ash — December 09, 2009 1 min read

Online social networking has quickly become a major part of the lives of today’s K-12 students, according to a new poll by Junior Achievement, a nonprofit organization that aims to teach students about workforce readiness. The poll found that 88 percent of students ages 12 to 17 use social-networking Web sites once a day. Seventy percent reported spending at least an hour a day on the sites.

The survey also found that 58 percent of students would consider their ability to access social-networking sites during work when considering a potential job offer. The survey, however, did not go into detail to find out how important that aspect might be to students, which makes me hesitant to conclude that it’s a high priority for them. There are lots of factors that go into a decision to take a job, all of which could take higher priority over access to social-networking sites.

What I found more troublesome was the percentage of students who do not think about the reactions of college admissions officers, potential employers, or their parents when posting content online. Specifically, 40 percent said they do not think about the reactions of college admissions officers, 38 percent don’t consider the reactions of present or future employers, and 30 percent do not think about their parents’ reactions. Considering how easy it is for employers, college admissions officers, and parents to access information that students post publicly on the Web, I think that’s a more worrisome statistic, but one that could be remedied by more education about the consequences of posting inappropriate content online.

The results for this survey were pooled from a phone survey of 1,000 12 to 17-year-olds.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Digital Education blog.