Thursday, June 28, 2007

Social Networking

I have been busy lately with trying to get my head down on writing a few articles (one which is due in a fortnight) whilst attending the SCL annual conference (theme was Web 2.0) which was quite interesting. On the theme of social networking, there is a recent report published on Teens, privacy and online social networks by Pew Internet Project showing how the majority of teens manage their online profiles.

The majority of teens actively manage their online profiles to keep the information they believe is most sensitive away from the unwanted gaze of strangers, parents and other adults. While many teens post their first name and photos on their profiles, they rarely post information on public profiles they believe would help strangers actually locate them such as their full name, home phone number or cell phone number. At the same time, nearly two-thirds of teens with profiles (63%) believe that a motivated person could eventually identify them from the information they publicly provide on their profiles. A new report, based on a survey and a series of focus groups conducted by the Pew Internet & American Life Project examine how teens, particularly those with profiles online, make decisions about disclosing or shielding personal information. Some 55% of online teens have profiles and most of them restrict access to their profile in some way. Of those with profiles, 66% say their profile is not visible to all internet users. Of those whose profile can be accessed by anyone online, nearly half (46%) say they give at least some false information. Teens post fake information to protect themselves and also to be playful or silly.
Even without having to look at the law itself (either data protection, privacy etc.) this report sheds light on how individuals (teens) protect their identities when using social networking such as MySpace.

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