Results of a study recently released by Common Sense Media showed that many parents are concerned about the information being shared online by their children via social networks. The study also revealed desires by parents for the improvement of privacy protection online, as well as what teens thought about the issue.
Zogby International conducted the nationwide study for Common Sense Media during August 2010. The survey took place online, where 2,100 adults provided their opinions on the matter. In addition, 401 teenagers between that ages of 15 and 18 were polled. According to CEO and founder of Common Sense Media, James Steyer, the results of the study showed a rather large difference in opinion between teens and adults on the subject of online privacy protection.
Teenagers seemed rather confident of their abilities to protect themselves online, as 70 percent of those polled said they used privacy settings to keep unwanted parties from viewing their information. At the same time, 79 percent of the teenagers polled said they believed their friends shared too much personal information online with others. The negative repercussions of doing so was cited as a concern amongst teens, as 58 percent of them said they felt that revealing too much personal information online could hinder them from receiving admission into a university or obtaining employment. This concern does not seem unfounded, as there have been reported incidents in the past where employers have terminated relationships with employees after seeing risque photos or other unsavory content on personal social networking profiles.
Although teenagers did express privacy concerns, parents and adults polled seemed to be even more worried. Approximately 85 percent of the parents said they had more online privacy concerns now than they did five years ago when social networking was not as prevalent, and 92 percent said they felt their children revealed too much personal information online. Most felt that social networking sites should not reveal a child's location to others unless approved by the parent. When it came to opinions on efforts by online social networks to protect children's privacy, 75 percent of parents and 71 percent of adults said the networks were not doing enough.
While many feel that the sites are not doing enough, the survey revealed that efforts from parents themselves may be lacking. Only around 50 percent of parents said they actually read the terms of service on sites prior to their children registering. Many said they would read them if they were more concise. An overwhelming amount, 69 percent, said they believed that individuals and social networks should share responsibilities when it comes to online privacy.
Parents also expressed the desire for help from outside sources as well in the fight for privacy protection. Approximately 70 percent said they want the education system to institute classes on the subject, while 60 percent wanted updated laws from Congress to protect children. Finally, nearly 90 percent of parents surveyed would back laws that required their opt-in approval before allowing sites to use their children's personal data for marketing purposes.
For more, visit http://news.cnet.com/8301-31921_3-20019026-281.html?tag=mncol;title
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