Hot trends in online social networking, geolocation services, or musings in Twitter messages are not signs that privacy is less important to the younger generation, according to a study released last week. Young adults are just more naive.
Study co-author Joseph Turow, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania Annenberg School for Communication, US, says the real difference between older adults and younger ones is that those aged 18 through 24 believe their online privacy is protected by law. “The general population thinks the government protects them more than it does, but young adults even more so,” Prof. Turow says.
Factors that may prompt young adults to be more cavalier with information online include peer pressure to be part of Internet social networks and natural tendencies towards risky behaviour.
Who’s watching? Peer pressure may lead to youngsters being cavalier about personal information online.
The study by Annenberg and the law school at the University of California, Berkeley, was based on a random sampling of 1,000 adults surveyed by phone last year.
Prof. Turow cautions that more research regarding what older adults do online is needed for a true comparison of the behaviour of different age groups on the Internet. “It is possible older adults do... foolish things,” Prof. Turow says. “They may not show up naked as much but they may get in trouble saying bad things about a boss or with a picture of them golfing when they are supposed to be off sick.”
As for younger adults, they need education about the degree to which their online privacy is legally guarded and security settings at social networking websites should be stringent by default, study authors suggested.
Are you hoping for an H-1B visa?
The US labour market may be on the rebound, but demand for the special visas that allow companies to bring in skilled workers from abroad is much weaker than last year.
The US Citizenship and Immigration Services said earlier this month that it received around 13,500 requests for its standard H-1B visas since it began accepting applications on 1 April. That’s far fewer than the 42,000 requests filed during the same period last year, during the worst phase of the recession.
The agency sets an annual quota of 65,000 for H-1B visas. Companies, rather than individuals, apply for the visas in order to bring foreign workers with special skills into the country to work for three-six years. H-1B visas can be used to hire all kinds of specialized workers, but they’re especially popular with computer and telecommunications companies. The demand for such visas is an indicator of whether companies intend to hire skilled workers from overseas.
A supplemental H-1B visa programme for foreign workers with advanced degrees has a quota of 20,000, but has received only 5,600 applications so far. Last year, the quota for that programme was nearly met in the first week.
Rebecca Peters, counsel for legislative affairs at the American Council on International Personnel, a pro-immigration lobbying group, says the slow uptake of visas this year could actually be good news for foreign students who’ll soon graduate from American colleges and universities.
Many take temporary jobs at US firms, and would like to stay on as H-1B visa holders. But in recent years the visas have been used up in April, a month or two before they graduate. If the H-1B visa quota remains unfilled, these foreign students will have time to complete their studies and look for jobs with US companies.
©2010/THE NEW YORK TIMES
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