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Disclosing or Protecting? Teenagers’ Online Self-Disclosure

Abstract

How do teenagers react when marketeers request personal data online? This is the central question of a survey conducted among 1,318 Belgian 12–18 year-olds. The present study reveals that despite a sceptical attitude towards online data collecting practices, teenagers are still prepared to disclose much personal information. The study discerns two categories of personal information: contact data and profile data. The relationship between online data disclosure on the one hand and privacy concerns and parental involvement on the other hand was examined. ICT-use and sociodemographic variables were included as control variables. Regression outcomes show a negative relation between youngsters’ level of privacy concern and their willingness to provide personal data. Teenagers cosurfing with their parents and having restrictions on their Internet use, were less inclined to disclose contact data. Whereas no significant age differences were found in data disclosure, this study did find that girls are less inclined to disclose contact data than boys, but at the same time disclose relatively more profile data. Implications for education and public policies are discussed.

Keywords

  • Personal Data
  • Parental Monitoring
  • Profile Data
  • Privacy Concern
  • Contact Data

These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Fig. 14.1

Notes

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    Daniel R. Horne and David A. Horne, “Domains of Privacy: Toward an Understanding of Underlying Factors,” (Paper presented at the Direct Marketing Educators’ Conference, San Francisco, CA, October 11, 1998).

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    Sook-Jung Lee and Young-Gil Chae, “Children’s Internet Use in a Family Context: Influence on Family Relationships and Parental Mediation,” Cyberpsychology and Behavior 5(2007): 640–644.

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Acknowledgements

This survey was conducted as part of TIRO (Teens & ICT: Risks & Opportunities), a research project within the framework of and financed by the Belgian Federal Science Policy’s programme on Society & Future. This research project was a collaboration between CRID and CITA FUNDP, SMIT VUB and MIOS University of Antwerp. The survey was prepared and conducted by assoc. prof. dr. Michel Walrave, Sunna Lenaerts, Sabine De Moor and Marijke De Bie (MIOS University of Antwerp).

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Walrave, M., Heirman, W. (2011). Disclosing or Protecting? Teenagers’ Online Self-Disclosure. In: Gutwirth, S., Poullet, Y., De Hert, P., Leenes, R. (eds) Computers, Privacy and Data Protection: an Element of Choice. Springer, Dordrecht. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-0641-5_14

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