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August 23, 2013

Teens Aware of Privacy When It Comes to Apps

By Michelle Amodio, TMCnet Contributor

Perhaps adults are too quick to assume that teens just don’t care when it comes to their privacy and mobile phone usage, but a recent Pew (News - Alert) study begs to differ. Privacy is, in fact, a concern amongst teens.

This is the project’s first study looking at teens and the apps they download, use, disable and avoid altogether. 


Image via Shutterstock

“Teens are on the front lines of figuring out the complex world of privacy management of on their mobile devices,” the study's lead author, Mary Madden, said in releasing the report. “They realize that cell phones can be used to monitor their whereabouts, and they will avoid apps if they feel like the data requests are unnecessary or excessive.”

According to Pew, 78 percent of teens have a mobile phone and 23 percent have a tablet. In addition:

  • 58 percent of all teens have downloaded mobile apps
  • 51 percent of teens have avoided apps due to privacy concerns
  • 26 percent of teens have uninstalled an app because it was collecting personal information
  • 46 percent of teen users have turned off location tracking features on their cell phone or in an app

The Pew report did not call out any particular app makers such as Facebook (News - Alert), Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram or Snapchat. However, it did point to the fact that online privacy presently is one of the most crucial issues faced by social media companies, because users are increasingly apprehensive about the level of information, which these sites collect about them.

Today’s kids are connected to one another on a level that far surpasses just human interaction. While today’s tweens and teens may be more digitally savvy than their parents, their lack of maturity and life experience can quickly get them into trouble with these new social venues. 

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, it behooves parents to talk with their kids about social media use and to always monitor their online behavior.

“For all ages, emphasize that everything sent over the Internet or a cell phone can be shared with the entire world, so it is important they use good judgment in sending messages and pictures and set privacy settings on social media sites appropriately,” writes the AAP.




Edited by Alisen Downey
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