Today’s teens certainly constitute the social media generation. And a recent study titled “Teens, Social Media and Privacy” by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project sheds light on this phenomenon.
Significant findings include the following:
- The median teen has 300 Facebook friends;
- Teen Twitter use has increased to 24% from 16% two years ago;
- The teen thrill of Facebook is wearing off, according to focus group discussions, due to growing adult presence, too much “drama,” and oversharing of mundane information;
- Teens nevertheless persist with their Facebook usage because it serves as a critical aspect of teen socializing;
- Only 9% of teens report a high level of worry about third-party access to their private data;
- Teens are much more likely to report positive than negative online experiences — indeed, 52% say that they have had online experiences that made them feel good about themselves; and
- As many as 91% of teens post photos of themselves, with 71% posting their school names, 71% posting the city where they live, 53% posting their emails addresses, and 20% posting their cell phone numbers — all much greater percentages than several years back.
Furthermore, 92% post their real name, 84% post their interests, 82% post their birth date, 62% post their relationship status, and 24% post videos of themselves.
No doubt, teens are using social media prevalently and are revealing much about themselves and their lives for at least their friends and perhaps the world to see.
This train appears to be a locomotive that is well out of the station with no sign of slowdown any time soon. It will be interesting to see how the current teens of this generation will connect with each other as they become adults. And hopefully private data they post now will not come back to haunt them later.
Eric Sinrod is a partner in the San Francisco office of Duane Morris LLP, where he focuses on litigation matters of various types, including information technology and intellectual property disputes. You can read his professional biography here. To receive a weekly email link to Mr. Sinrod’s columns, please email him at firstname.lastname@example.org with Subscribe in the Subject line. This column is prepared and published for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. The views expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the author’s law firm or its individual partners.