Anytime you hear anything about social networking and privacy issues, you're immediately made to believe that teenagers and young adults are posting their most personal information for all the world to see, but it turns out, that's not exactly the truth, at least so says a new report out from Pew Internet and American Life Project.
According to the report, people between the ages of 18 and 29 are the most cautious when they are online, and are the age group most likely to take advantage of privacy settings when it comes to social networking websites such as Facebook. The survey asked 2,253 people over the age of 18 if they changed their privacy settings and 71% in the 18 to 29 year old group said they did, which was a significant percentage more than, say, the 30 to 49 year old group. Privacy measures included untagging themselves in photos uploaded by friends, deleting unwanted comments, and limiting personal information. And if that's not enough to shock you, the 18 to 29 year old group is the only group that has been consistently doing so since 2006. The other age groups are using less privacy measures now than they were four years ago.
So, does this mean the older groups aren't aware of what they're doing? Nope, not at all. 44% of employed users said the details about where they work are online and 42% said their picture is online. 33% said their birth date can be found online and 26% have listed their home address. Just 12% have published their cell phone number online.
Pew researcher, Mary Madden, who authored the report, said in a statement, "Contrary to the popular perception that younger users embrace a laissez-faire attitude about their online reputations, young adults are often more vigilant than older adults when it comes to managing their online identities."
It should be noted that the younger group was more likely to post information such as their cell phone number online, but they were also more likely to control who has access to it. Older adults were more likely to publish their home addresses. Overall, it's good to point out that most people are aware that anyone from a criminal to their grandmother could access their information if they aren't careful. Also, 82% of people whose information was posted by others have asked it be removed.
And it's true, anyone can do a Google search of your name and find just about anything you've put online. If you don't believe, it search for yourself. Unless you want your boss seeing those pictures of you out partying on a work night or your mom seeing that you're dating that guy she absolutely can't stand, you may want amp up your personal privacy or go ahead and remove some information from your profiles all together.
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