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Thursday, March 19, 2015

Teens' approach to social media risk is different from adults'

In a study, the researchers report that the way teens learn how to manage privacy risk online is much different than how adults approach privacy management. While most adults think first and then ask questions, teens tend to take the risk and then seek help.
Teens are often more exposed to online risks because they are using social media as a platform for self-expression and as a way to gain acceptance from their peers. This desire for expression and acceptance can lead teens to disclose too much information. They may disclose vital contact information, or exchange photographs with strangers, for example.
When teens begin to struggle with privacy concerns, they often try to find possible protective actions to mitigate risk, according to the researchers. Those remedies include seeking advice from adults, removing online information, or going offline completely.
Haiyan Jia (author) said swimming lessons may be the best model for parents who want to encourage their teens to use the Internet and social media safely.
"It's a lot like learning to swim," Jia said. "You make sure they enter the water slowly and make sure they know how to swim before you let them swim on their own and in the deeper parts."
Researchers present their findings at the Computer-Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing conference.