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!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Blog Posts

3 marketing mistakes to overcome when courting prospective customers

Marketing that urges respondents to ‘buy now’ is a little like asking someone to marry you on your first date. At any time, only 3 per cent of the market is looking for what you’re selling, so the chances of your date randomly being ‘The One’ is pretty slim.

Sabri Suby

Founder, King Kong

Why are we dubious about deep learning?

The prospect of deep learning gives those of us in the industry something to get really excited about, and something to be nervous about, at the same time.

Katja Forbes

Founder and chief, sfyte

Why you can’t afford to fail at CX in 2019

In 1976 Apple launched. The business would go on to change the game, setting the bar for customer experience (CX). Seamless customer experience and intuitive designs gave customers exactly what they wanted, making other service experiences pale in comparison.

Damian Kernahan

Founder and CEO, Proto Partners

Red Agency YouGov Galaxy Report, February 2019 Predictors Study. https://redagency.com.au/re...

Vanessa Skye Mitchell

DNA-based marketing: The next big thing?

Read more

RIP holden

Max Polding

Marketing professor: For Holden, brand nostalgia ain’t what it used to be

Read more

Where does the claim that 2 million Australians have tested come from ? Anecdotal information suggests that this is way off the mark.

David Andersen

DNA-based marketing: The next big thing?

Read more

Thank you for the info , being part of a digital marketing agency in kerala , this proved handy and get to know with upcoming trends. htt...

Dotz Web Technologies

Predictions: 9 digital marketing trends for 2019

Read more

So who then is correct? The Research or The skilled Digital people.

Anene

Report reveals Australia faces digital skills shortage

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in