Pew Research just released a report called “Teens, Social Media, and Privacy.” The report provides a bunch of data about what teens do online and how they view their personal privacy while sharing. The report also delves into social sharing apps like Twitter, SnapChat and Instagram.
Why should you care? As a parent it’s really important to get a broader view of how how other teens conduct themselves online. It also helps to understand the context in which teens uses these technologies. While many adults and even many press accounts describe SnapChat as a saucy photo sharing app teens use it in ways that may surprise you. One teen girl described her use of SnapChat in Pew’s focus groups in this way: “Well, because Facebook, everyone sees what I’m doing. But Snapchat is just to one person, unless they’re a jerk and they screenshot it and post it on Facebook. But mostly it’s just the person that you’re sending it to, so it’s like a conversation.”
Also, the teens comment about their parents joining Facebook: “It sucks… Because then they [my parents] start asking me questions like why are you doing this, why are you doing that. It’s like, it’s my Facebook. If I don’t get privacy at home, at least, I think, I should get privacy on a social network.”
So, take a deep breath, relax and read Pew’s data. It’s a brave new world, but you may find that it’s not a scary as you thought.