Bosses should not be allowed to search for job applicants on the internet using sites such as Facebook, MySpace or Bebo, a coalition of charities has stated.
The alliance of eight charities includes the NSPCC, the Children's Society and the National Children's Home.
Ministers are being urged to clamp down on bosses who conduct such searches as it is "highly and inappropriately intrusive", John Carr, secretary of the Children's Charities' Coalition on Internet Safety, told the Times.
Mr Carr, who is organising the campaign, said: "When young people put up their personal profiles they are not thinking about job or university applications. Typically, they are simply talking to their mates."
A survey by the Times discovered that one in five bosses had searched for job candidates on the web, with two-thirds of those who had found information admitting they had used it to influence their decision.
Meanwhile, US firm Gartner stated that social networking sites have a number of benefits in the workplace.