Teens do think about privacy

September 4, 2013 |

According to a recent Atlantic article Of Course Teens Think About Privacy, They Have Parents more than 50 per cent of teen app users have avoided downloading privacy concerns because of privacy concerns.  The article provides:

More than 50 percent of teen app users have avoided downloading apps because of privacy concerns, according to a new Pew Internet Project and Berkman Center poll of teenagers.

Another 26 percent have deleted an app “because they found out it was collecting personal information that they didn’t wish to share.” And 59 percent of teen girls have turned off location-tracking in apps.

Teens are also the driving force behind ephemeral apps like Snapchat and Whisper, which don’t force their users to maintain a singular, archived identity.

Pew researcher Mary Madden told the Wall Street Journal that “teens tend to think about privacy in the sense of ‘social privacy’ or whether an app is ‘creepy’ … not in terms of advertising or governmental surveillance like adults do.”

Which makes perfect sense. For teens, parents are, by far, the most intrusive and controlling force in their lives. If they’re trying to preserve an independent sphere of thought and action, it’s from their guardians, not the state.

Nonetheless, whatever privacy-protecting habits the younger set forms now may serve them well in the future.

The basis for the article is a very illuminating paper prepared by the Pew Internet Project and Berkman Center.  It is found here.

The 20 page report is well worth reading.  The summary provides:

As more teens gainaccess to smartphones and tablets that are optimized for mobile applications, teens, like their adult counterparts, have embraced app downloading.But many teen apps users have taken steps to uninstall or avoid apps out of concern about their privacy. Location information is considered especially sensitive to teen girls, as a majority of them have disabled location tracking features on cell phones and in apps because they are worried about others’ access to that information. Here are some of the key findings in a new survey of U.S. teens ages 12-17:

  • 58% of all teens have downloaded apps to their cell phone or tablet computer.
  • 51% of teen apps users have avoided certain apps due to privacy concerns.
  • 26% of teen apps users have uninstalled an app because they found out it was collecting personal information that they didn’t wish to share.
  • 46% of teen apps users have turned off location tracking features on their cell phone or in an app because they were worried about the privacy of their information.
  • Among teen apps users, girls are considerably more likely than boys to say they have disabled location tracking features (59% vs. 37%).

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