Who knew? Privacy is a concern for teenagers, study shows

Half of teenagers have avoided a mobile app due to concerns about personal information, a new survey found

The current generation of teenagers seems willing to share anything on social media, but cares more about privacy than you think, according to a recent Pew study.

One in four teenagers have uninstalled a mobile app because they found out it was collecting personal information they didn't want to share, said a report released Thursday by the Pew Research Center's Internet and American Life Project.

Half of teenagers have avoided an app altogether on their cell phone or tablet due to concerns about personal information they would have to share in order to use it, the report also said.

The report did not call out specific app makers like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat or Tumblr. But privacy is today one of the crucial issues faced by those companies, as consumers question the level of information sites are able to gather about them.

Pew's survey was based on telephone interviews with 802 U.S. teenagers aged 12 to 17 and their parents. The survey did not focus exclusively on social apps, though participants said in focus group discussions that they primarily downloaded social media and game apps to their phones and tablets, in addition to music, news and weather apps.

Some teenagers took issue with specific app features. Nearly 50 percent said they had turned off location tracking on their cell phone or in an app because they were worried about other people or companies accessing that information, the report said.

Australian privacy laws: Are you prepared?
Twitter toying with more tailored ads, aiming to protect users' privacy
Navigating around the privacy minefield

Some didn't even understand why the app would need that information, and so they opted out. "An app wanted to use location services for some reason," one survey participant said in a focus group discussion, "but I didn't see the reason why."

In many cases, focus group participants said they did not allow an app to access their location unless they thought it was necessary, the report said.

Girls are more likely than boys to say they have turned off location tracking, the survey found. Among app downloaders, 59 percent of teenage girls reported having disabled location tracking, compared with just 37 percent of boys, the report said.

While they are concerned about companies' use of their information, some teenagers may be just as concerned about their parents' access, report authors suggested. In 2009 Pew found that about half of parents of teenage cell phone users used the phone to monitor their child's location in some way.

The survey's findings come as Internet companies like Facebook and Twitter continue to enhance their sites in an effort to keep users engaged, including teenagers.

The professional networking site LinkedIn now wants to attract younger users, with its introduction this week of university pages aimed at students.

In June the ephemeral photo messaging service Snapchat -- already very popular among teenagers -- launched SnapKidz for users even younger than 13.

Zach Miners covers social networking, search and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow Zach on Twitter at @zachminers. Zach's e-mail address is zach_miners@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Blog Posts

The competitive advantage Australian retailers have over Amazon

With all of the hype around Amazon, many online retailers have been trying to understand how they can compete with the American retail giant.

Joel Milligan

Performance manager, Columbus Agency

How to become the customer experience custodian

The number one objective enterprises give for embarking on a digital transformation is to improve customer experiences with new engagement models, according to IDC’s 2017 global study.

Fear not: It's only a robot

Every time I pass through the automated border controls at the Sydney airport I walk away with a feeling of exasperation on the one hand and relief on the other. Exasperation, because the face recognition technology inevitably always fails to recognise me. Relief, because we seem to be safely years away from the Orwellian reality of states controlling every aspect of our lives; something the media is keenly warning us against each day.

Dan Kalinski

CEO, iProspect Australia and New Zealand

And to add after looking at event pictures plus, observing all AU's visible Blonde Bimbos (think Julie Bishop to this Georgie Gardnerare)...

absolutelyconcerned

In pictures: CMO 50 2017: The who's who of Australian marketing leadership

Read more

CMO 50 2017 announcement mentioning "innovation". I checked date and its November not April so its wasn't an April Fools' Joke. Australia...

absolutelyconcerned

In pictures: CMO 50 2017: The who's who of Australian marketing leadership

Read more

I worked at Momentum when the transformation started way back in 2013 (not 2015 as stated in the article). It was a painfully slow and co...

Jay

How Momentum Energy has transformed its entire business to be customer-led

Read more

Another buzzword thoughtlessly latched onto, without any thought for the implications on the organisations that have to lumber through th...

Tired

Rolling out agile marketing at Deakin

Read more

Useful., also don’t miss out on these 5 features of Adobe Experience Cloud - Visit here > http://www.softcrylic.com/b...

Sunil Joseph

Adobe debuts Advertising Cloud, Experience Cloud

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in