Young adults are naive about online privacy

Young adults are naive about online privacy
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First Published: Sun, Apr 18 2010. 11 48 PM IST

Who’s watching? Peer pressure may lead to youngsters being cavalier about personal information online.
Who’s watching? Peer pressure may lead to youngsters being cavalier about personal information online.
Updated: Sun, Apr 18 2010. 11 48 PM IST
Hot trends in online social networking, geolocation services, or musings in Twitter messages are not signs that privacy is less important to the younger generation, according to a study released last week. Young adults are just more naive.
Study co-author Joseph Turow, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania Annenberg School for Communication, US, says the real difference between older adults and younger ones is that those aged 18 through 24 believe their online privacy is protected by law. “The general population thinks the government protects them more than it does, but young adults even more so,” Prof. Turow says.
Who’s watching? Peer pressure may lead to youngsters being cavalier about personal information online.
Factors that may prompt young adults to be more cavalier with information online include peer pressure to be part of Internet social networks and natural tendencies towards risky behaviour.
The study by Annenberg and the law school at the University of California, Berkeley, was based on a random sampling of 1,000 adults surveyed by phone last year.
Prof. Turow cautions that more research regarding what older adults do online is needed for a true comparison of the behaviour of different age groups on the Internet. “It is possible older adults do... foolish things,” Prof. Turow says. “They may not show up naked as much but they may get in trouble saying bad things about a boss or with a picture of them golfing when they are supposed to be off sick.”
As for younger adults, they need education about the degree to which their online privacy is legally guarded and security settings at social networking websites should be stringent by default, study authors suggested.
— AFP
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©2010/THE NEW YORK TIMES
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First Published: Sun, Apr 18 2010. 11 48 PM IST