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Posted on Tue, May 11, 2010 : 6 a.m.

Are young adults getting wise to the risks of telling all on Facebook?

By Jen Eyer


Photo by Flickr user @boetter

Here's some reassuring news for parents who are concerned about kids oversharing on social networking sites: It seems some kids are wising up and getting smarter about what they share.

From the New York Times: Tell-All Generation Learns to Keep Things Offline.

While participation in social networks is still strong, a survey released last month by the University of California, Berkeley, found that more than half the young adults questioned had become more concerned about privacy than they were five years ago — mirroring the number of people their parent’s age or older with that worry.

They are more diligent than older adults, however, in trying to protect themselves. In a new study to be released this month, the Pew Internet Project has found that people in their 20s exert more control over their digital reputations than older adults, more vigorously deleting unwanted posts and limiting information about themselves.

My kids are too young for Facebook, but I can say from my experiences searching for baby-sitters that this is welcome news.

As I mentioned in a recent article, one of my first steps in a sitter search is to look for the candidates on Facebook. If I can view their wall or photos, I'm almost certainly going to find something that causes me to rule them out. Most memorable are:

  • The woman who posted an update every morning stating exactly how much she weighed. She apparently was a 110-pound size 2 trying to get back to a size 0. And she must have been on crack if she thought I'd let her get anywhere near my impressionable young daughter.
  • The woman who had galleries of party photos showing (lots of) herself, drinking and playing tonsil hockey with multiple people.
  • The college student who also was a model and had photo upon suggestive photo of herself posing in lingerie on office furniture. She also swore like a sailor on her wall.
  • And finally, the college student who seemed pretty normal in her photos and status updates. Really, really normal. So normal, in fact, that I was completely bored. One of her wall posts was: "Organic chemistry is overrated." Major negative points for using a cliche in a way that doesn't even make sense.

The last example shows why everyone — and especially those currently looking for a job — should keep their Facebook privacy settings strictly personal.

Jen Eyer is on the Community Team at She leads the Parenting and Pets sections, and writes feature stories, blog posts and opinion pieces. She can be reached at 734-623-2577 or