#DOES PRIVACY MATTER ANYMORE?

Privacy absolutely matters. The good news is, many research studies have found that the majority of young people recognize the importance of privacy and make some attempt to maintain their privacy online. The bad news is that while they may understand privacy is a good thing, they don’t think much about the consequences of not guarding personal information. Young teens do not yet have the life skills to understand that bad things can happen online, and the pressure and their need to socialize means privacy is far down the list of priorities. Older teens are more likely to have had negative online experiences, and may have a better grasp of what should remain private. Across the board teens, may be posting less information on sites like Facebook, but it has less to do with privacy concerns and everything to do with limiting what parents and other family members can see of their interaction with peers. It’s ironic that young people are considering the consequences of being caught posting inappropriate/personal information by parents, but they are not worried about the rest of the world seeing the same posts, pictures or personal information. Given this paradox, it is critical to teach children the analytical skill to look under the hood of our privacy challenged culture. The real life consequences of online sharing that reveals too much personal information are all too apparent. They include cyber bullying, stolen identities, and personal images being used by corporations for advertisements without permission. These consequences can also veer into criminality and may include blackmail, extortion, and luring by online predators.