Education.com
Try
Brainzy
Try
Plus

Teens, Privacy and Online Social Networks

— Pew Internet and American Life Project
Updated on Apr 11, 2011

A new report, based on a survey and a series of focus groups conducted by the Pew Internet & American Life Project examine how teens, particularly those with profiles online, make decisions about disclosing or shielding personal information.

Still, 63% of teens with online profiles believe that a motivated person could eventually identify them from their online profile

WASHINGTON – The majority of teens actively manage their online profiles to keep the information they believe is most sensitive away from the unwanted gaze of strangers, parents and other adults. While many teens post their first name and photos on their profiles, they rarely post information on public profiles they believe would help strangers actually locate them such as their full name, home phone number or cell phone number.

At the same time, nearly two-thirds of teens with profiles (63%) believe that a motivated person could eventually identify them from the information they publicly provide on their profiles.

A new report, based on a survey and a series of focus groups conducted by the Pew Internet & American Life Project examine how teens, particularly those with profiles online, make decisions about disclosing or shielding personal information.

Some 55% of online teens have profiles and most of them restrict access to their profile in some way. Of those with profiles, 66% say their profile is not visible to all internet users. Of those whose profile can be accessed by anyone online, nearly half (46%) say they give at least some false information. Teens post fake information to protect themselves and also to be playful or silly.

Here is a rundown of the kinds of information they post on their profiles, whether they are public or shielded:

  • 82% of profile creators have included their first name in their profiles
  • 79% have included photos of themselves.
  • 66% have included photos of their friends.
  • 61% have included the name of their city or town.
  • 49% have included the name of their school.
  • 40% have included their instant message screen name.
  • 40% have streamed audio to their profile.
  • 39% have linked to their blog.
  • 29% have included their email address.
  • 29% have included their last name.
  • 29% have included videos.
  • 2% have included their cell phone numbers.
  • 6% of online teens and 11% of profile-owning teens post their first and last names on publicly-accessible profiles.

The new survey shows that many youth actively manage their personal information as they perform a balancing act between keeping some important pieces of information confined to their network of trusted friends and, at the same time, participating in a new, exciting process of creating content for their profiles and making new friends. Most teens believe some information seems acceptable – even desirable – to share, while other information needs to be protected.

The majority of teen profile creators suspect that a motivated person could eventually identify them. While most teens take steps to limit what others can know about them from their profiles and postings, they also know that the powerful search tools available to internet users could help motivated individuals track them down. Some 23% of teen profile creators say it would be "pretty easy" for someone to find out who they are from the information posted to their profile, and 40% of teens with profiles online think that it would be hard for someone to find out who they are from their profile, but that they could eventually be found online. Another 36% say they think it would be "very difficult" for someone to identify them from their online profile.

View Full Article
Add your own comment