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Teens do seek online privacy help, think parents overreact to stranger-danger

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(Read caption) Xavier Schmidt has his picture taken by his parents outside Facebook's headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif., May 17, 2012

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Privacy in social media is important to US teens (and undoubtedly all teens). We knew this but just got further confirmation today from the Pew Internet Project’s new study, “Where Teens Seek Online Privacy Advice.”

“The majority of teens set their profile to either fully or partially private,” the authors report, and if they can’t figure out how to manage their settings themselves, they get advice – in fact “70% of teen Internet users have asked for or sought out advice on managing their privacy online” – more than three-quarters of 12- and 13-year-olds (77%) and 67% of 14- to 17-year-olds. But teens are also very self-reliant, as many parents know (because we sometimes ask them for help!). [In fact, in a focus group, a 13-year-old told the authors that her parents told her to figure it out herself.]

“For their day-to-day privacy management, teens generally rely on themselves to figure out the practical aspects of sharing and settings on their own … whether by being walked through their choices by the app or platform when they first sign up, or through search and use of their preferred platform,” according to the study, which was both quantitative (survey) and qualitative (focus groups).


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