Survey: Teens Are Caring More About Online Privacy

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According to a new survey released by the Creative Artist Agency’s Intelligence Group, a youth-focused, research-based consumer insights company, U.S. teenagers are more concerned about online privacy and data collection than young adults in their twenties and thirties.

The report detailed that only 11% of teens share “a lot of information” about themselves online, which is 7% lower from the same age group in 2013. In addition, this is markedly less than the 17% of young adults aged 19 to 24, and 27% of 25- to 34-year-olds who share a lot of personal information online.

The report goes on to mention that 18% of teenagers share content on social media at least once a day, compared with 28% of young adults aged 19 to 24, and 35% of 25 to 34 year olds. This shared content includes Facebook status updates, photos, and articles.

For these teenagers, YouTube has overtaken Facebook as the most used website for their age group.

The Report’s Findings

However, according to the authors of Intelligence Group’s report on the survey, this doesn’t mean that teens are no longer using Facebook. It simply means that they aren’t using social media in the same way that their older peers are.

The Intelligence Group chalks up this new concern about privacy among teenagers as being an outgrowth of the recent revelations about the NSA’s surveillance operations.

Not only are teenagers deleting their cookies and browser histories more, they are using mobile apps and browsers which protect their identities. This includes apps that allow users to send anonymous messages to friends, as well as browsers like Disconnect that block ads.

Pew Research Center’s Report on Teenagers and Privacy

This complements similar findings in a report released last year by the Pew Research Center’s Internet Project. Their report found that even as teenagers (those between 12 and 17) are increasing the amount of information they are sharing online, they are also careful about managing who can see this information and access it.

The Pew Research Center also reported that while teenagers are likely to figure out privacy setting themselves, nearly 70% of them have reached out at some point for advice on how to manage their privacy online. And these teenagers are just as likely to ask their friends as they are to ask their parents or other adults for advice.

The report mentioned that younger teens (those between 12 and 13 years old) are more likely to seek out advice than older teens (those between 14 and 17). And girls are more likely than boys to seek out advice on managing their privacy (77% of girls versus 66% of boys).

These two reports indicate that teenagers are savvier than their older peers in understanding how they can protect their privacy online and actually taking steps to do that.

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Jared Howe

Jared Howe is PRIVATE WiFi’s Senior Manager, Product Marketing Communications. Working in high tech for over 15 years, Jared currently lives in Seattle with his wife, daughter, and their two cats.