New research has revealed 71% of young workers access social networking sites ‘a few times a week’ on work time.

But perhaps more alarmingly, content security specialists Clearswift found 42% of these young staff admitted discussing work-related matters on sites such as YouTube and MySpace, as well as blogs and forums.

As a result of its findings, Clearswift is urging UK CIOs to strike the right balance between policing and facilitating this group of workers’ preference for online socialising. Particularly given that it found 27% of 18-29 year olds questioned spend three or more hours a week web 2.0 surfing.

"It’s clear from the research that organisations need to take a closer look at the social media sites that their employees are using at work to ensure sensitive business issues or information is not being discussed," said Clearswift’s chief operating officer, Ian Bowles.

"However finding the balance between harnessing so-called ‘web 2.0’ technologies for business benefit and maintaining strong security is key.”

The research also found the vast majority (59%) of office workers aged 18-29 believed that employees should be entitled to access web 2.0 internet content from their work PCs for personal reasons, compared to 38% of employees aged over 30.