New Study: Teens Sharing More Online, Caring Less about Privacy

A new study from Pew Research Center shows that teens are sharing more and more personal information on social media sites than they have in the past. The study is a red flag when it comes to the issue of privacy and a nudge to parents to consistently guide their kids in this issue.

For the five different types of personal information Pew measured in both 2006 and 2012, each is significantly more likely to be shared by teen social media users on the profile they use most often.

  • 91% post a photo of themselves, up from 79% in 2006.
  • 71% post their school name, up from 49%.
  • 71% post the city or town where they live, up from 61%.
  • 53% post their email address, up from 29%.
  • 20% post their cell phone number, up from 2%.

In addition to the trend questions, Pew also asked teens five new questions about the profile they use most often and found that among teen social media users:

  • 92% post their real name to the profile they use most often. 
  • 84% post their interests, such as movies, music, or books they like.
  • 82% post their birth date.
  • 62% post their relationship status.
  • 24% post videos of themselves.

The study also revealed Teen social media users do not express a high level of concern about third-party access to their data with just 9% stating they are “very” concerned.

Encourage your teens in the importance of privacy online. Teach them to:

  1. Delete birthday, age, or birthplace, school, location on all social networks.
  2. Turn off location services on phone and PC.
  3. Delete all cookies when they leave a social networking site.
  4. Have a strong antivirus program running on your computer at all times.
  5. Remove posts and photos that reveal too much about routine or location any content that might reveal personal information.
  6. Avoid clicking on suspicious web links.
  7. Avoid the temptation to accept a friend request from people they don’t know (no matter how ‘cute’ or ‘friendly’ they appear be – scammers are clever).

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