According to the latest data from Pew, teens find Facebook to be more an extension of their daily interactions at school and home than a place where they can relax and be themselves. The unease isn’t from concerns about third parties accessing their data, or even their parents discovering unflattering photos — it’s from the “drama” that goes along with maintaining a presence on the network, including jockeying for likes, agonizing over profile pictures, and the politicking and cliques that characterize teenage life.
Pew reports that while 77 percent of online teens are on Facebook, their experiences aren’t exactly the sharing free-for-all that the social network likes to evoke when it discusses the future of its service. Roughly half of respondents had deleted their own posts or others’ comments, or un-tagged themselves from photos. Three quarters had deleted people from their network, and 58 percent had blocked someone from contacting them. Pew writes that “while some focus group participants enjoyed using [Facebook], far more associated it with constraints through an increasing adult presence, high-pressure or otherwise negative social interactions (‘drama’), or feeling overwhelmed by others who share too much.”
But while the pressures of social life online weigh heavily on the minds of teenage social media users, third-party access to their information doesn’t seem to be a concern. Only nine percent of respondents reported being “very concerned” about third parties accessing their data. Among parents it’s a different story — 81 percent are concerned about how much information advertisers can learn about their children. And while the results could indicate a gulf in values (several people reported having “nothing to hide”), the answers seem to show a lack of understanding about what social media services are doing with their personal data.
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