Are Social Media Privacy Issues Less of a Problem for Teens?

War Games

Anyone worried by privacy issues on social networking sites should ask themselves the question: is the next generation even going to be bothered by online security? A survey in the U.K. has discovered that 25% of teenagers have either hacked or attempted to hack their mates' Facebook accounts—despite four out of five of them admitting that they knew they were doing wrong.

Most of the 1,150 under-19-year-olds, who were questioned anonymously, said that they tried to crack their friends' passwords for fun. Some 21% said that they hoped to cause disruption (as Facebook's founder Mark Zuckerberg allegedly did at Harvard). A successful hack, however, was harder to manage than the kids had envisaged, with 82% saying they hadn't succeeded.

As regards Facebook and privacy issues, there's been a fair amount of keyboard pounding. The problem, it's implied, is with Zuckerberg's company ethos as he strives to eke as many dollars as possible out of the site. However, perhaps there is some meat in the argument that kids (tsk! these days, etc.) are less bothered about what actually constitutes a person's right to keep his private stuff just that.

Tufin Technologies, the firm that commissioned the study, claims that it demonstrates that kids needed educating about what is and isn't acceptable with online privacy. "Playing around with computers and trying to understand the system can be leveraged for good and bad purposes," said Reuven Harrison, one of the co-founders of Tufin. "There's a fine line at which point it becomes something bad. Children don't always understand where that line is."

[Via BBC, Image via Flickr]

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  • Stephanie Michele

    There would not be privacy issues if social skills were understood and not implied. Everyone needs to know how to find, create and develop relationships...teens are no different. The real opportunity here is inspire teens to think and be responsible for their actions.

  • Alexander Hoffmann

    I agree with Alexander Thomas, but I think part of the underlying problem is the disembodiment of data.
    You that it is forbidden to open another persons mail without their consent, you don't crack open the ABUS lock on their diaries and mess with them.

    People today — not only the kids — have to learn that data privacy is important.

  • Alex Thomas

    Not all people knowledgeable of computers are using their heads just to do good. Most of them wanted to create some trouble in order to prove themselves that they are computer geniuses.Alexander Thomas