Skip to main content

Google's Schmidt warns teens' online mistakes will haunt them forever

Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google, has warned that teenagers will be unable to escape their actions online as more and more information gets shared and archived, which could affect important life decisions like employment.

“We have a point at which we forget information we know about you because it is the right thing to do,” Schmidt said at the Telegraph Hay Festival. “There are situations in life that it’s better that they don’t exist. Especially if there is stuff you did when you were a teenager. Teenagers are now in an adult world online.”

He added that the current generation of teenagers may be haunted by their mistakes, unlike previous generations who were allowed to make mistakes and grow from them.

His comments support research by AVG that showed that people who post inappropriate pictures online, such as photos of them drunk, are 70 per cent less likely to get job interviews. A growing number of recruitment agencies are scouring applicants' social media profiles to get a better idea of job candidates, showing how potentially damaging comments and actions online can be.

Schmidt also revealed that Google will not censor offensive material from its search engine and other online products, stating that such censorship would be “a slippery slope.” If the more questionable content will remain online, then the poor actions of immature teens are almost guaranteed to be available for all to see long into the future.