January 31, 2013
According to a new report from AVG Technologies, more than half of adults believe that their privacy is being eroded at work because of the proliferation of social media. The Digital Work Life survey asked 4,000 people in ten countries about the experiences of and beliefs about issues such as cyberbullying, privacy and their approach to creating a better balance between their private and working lives. One in ten respondents had discovered secret discussions about themselves and 11 percent had embarrassing photos or videos taken at a work event and uploaded onto social media sites.
To prevent personal information from being circulated at work, according to the survey many adults are turning away from social media altogether. Of those who agreed social media has eroded their privacy at work, nearly a quarter (24 percent) now avoid posting on social networks that have caused them privacy concerns, while 23 percent limit their posts. More than half (53 percent) are more careful about what they post.
Other key findings of the report include:
- Forms of cyberbullying: Four out of five (82 percent) adults believe that sending unpleasant or defamatory remarks to or about a colleague using digital communications constitutes cyberbullying (93 percent in UK and New Zealand). Other forms of cyberbullying include posting negative comments on a social media site about a colleague’s appearance at a work event (79 percent) and criticizing a colleague behind their back through email, instant messaging, social media or SMS (69 percent).
- Incriminating or embarrassing activity online: Nearly one in ten (nine percent) adults has had a manager use information against them or a colleague which has been found on a social media site. This is highest in the US (13 percent) and Czech Republic (12 percent).
- Cyberbullying driving workplace confrontations: Cyberbullying can easily spill over into heated debates in the workplace with more than half (51 percent) of adults admitting they would confront colleagues in person if they felt they were the victim of cyberbullying. This is as high as 65 percent in Germany, 56 percent in France and 54 percent in the Czech Republic. One in 10 (11 percent) would retaliate to cyberbullying through digital communication.
- Cyberbullying policies: A quarter of adults (25 percent) are not protected from cyberbullying as workplaces do not cover this within existing policies. Only 37 percent of all adults know of a comprehensive policy, which covers cyberbullying, in the workplace. This is highest in Australia (57 percent) and the UK (51 percent) and lowest in France (20 percent) and Germany (23 percent).
- Social media responsibility: Half of all adults (50 percent) believe their company is responsible for the online behavior of employees during work hours if they are using their personal social media accounts. Sentiment is felt strongest in Canada (63 percent) and the US (61 percent) while only 27 percent of Germans agree with this. Outside of work hours, only 16 percent of all adults agree that companies are responsible for employees’ online behavior.