Lenhart, A. (June 25, 2013). Teens, Social Media, and Privacy: reputation management, third party access, and exposure to advertising. Pew Research. Retrieved from http://www.pewinternet.org/2013/06/25/teens-social-media-and-privacy-reputation-management-third-party-access-exposure-to-advertising/
This article from PEW Research, shows that teens are sharing more about themselves in social media profiles, but not many do it publicly. Teens show concern about their public reputations, but not about third party use of personal information or advertising. Social networking for teens has grown from 55% in 2006 to 81% in 2012. The top social media outlets for teens are Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Teens are posting more about themselves, such as photos, school names, city, email addresses, as well as cell phone numbers. Even though they seem to be sharing more information, the study shows that 60% of teens have set up strict privacy settings on Facebook. 25% are partially private and 14% have public settings. Twitter is a little bit different, 64% of teens have public tweets and 24% of teens have private tweets.
I think it’s very interesting that teens are now more concerned about their privacy settings, yet they are posting more personal information and photos of themselves. I would think if they were so concerned they might not want to share their personal information as much.
To manage their reputations, teens are deleting or editing their own posts, deleting comments that others make, un-tagging photos, or just deleting their accounts. Teens are also taking steps to protect themselves by deleting or blocking people. 74% have deleted people from their network and 58% have blocked people.
Something that was discussed in this study that I hadn’t thought about was how teens share inside jokes or coded messages on social media as well as post fake information. I guess this is another way of protecting themselves from other people on social media, or even from their parents who might see what they post.
The study shows that teens are not concerned over third party access to their personal information, but parents are very concerned. The top concerns with parents is interaction with strangers online and reputation management. As a parent, I can completely relate to these concerns. I know I can’t shelter my kids from the outside world completely, so I try to constantly remind them of the dangers of social media and I require them to talk to me first before downloading and using certain apps. We sit together and go through the privacy settings. I also tell my kids that I will be checking in on these apps frequently! It’s a scary world out there!