Kathleen Parker

The Post reported research showing that about half of U.S. hiring officials use the Internet to evaluate job applicants and that about one-third had denied employment based on material produced by an Internet search engine. Could it happen to you? Apparently, it could happen to anyone.

Today's college students frequently post their bios with photos on Facebook.com. Innocent and inexperienced in the realm of repercussions, they don't hesitate to display their silliest selves, clothed and often not.

The generation that was serenaded by Madonna and marinated in sexual imagery now dwells in a high-tech, freewheeling, sexually explicit environment where porn is the new risque and everybody's gone wild.

Ivy League and other large universities frequently are home to sex magazines featuring students who say posing nude is ``fun'' and a ``badge of honor,'' according to last Sunday's New York Times magazine. What's the big deal? ``A body is a body is a body, and I'm proud of my body, and why not show my body?'' asks Alecia Oleyourryk, co-founder of Boink, a ``user-friendly porn'' magazine produced by students at Boston University.

``It's not going to keep me from having a job.''

Famous last words, perhaps.

It is true that a body is just a body, and everybody has one. But those who've lived awhile know that what we ''knew'' with certainty in our 20s isn't necessarily what we come to know in our 30s, 40s and 50s. When you sexualize and objectify yourself, it's asking a lot that others -- including future bosses -- refrain from doing the same.

Advice to the young: If you can't imagine your mother or father doing something, you probably shouldn't do it either. Your kids may remind you of that someday.

Kathleen Parker

Kathleen Parker is a syndicated columnist with the Washington Post Writers Group.
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