Social networking detracts from privacy of teens


photo by Paige Kiehl

Ipsa Chaudhary

photo by Paige Kiehl
photo by Paige Kiehl
In this day and age, with companies constantly turning out new internet applications and the network of the internet growing at a rapid pace, the use of new technology such as iPads and laptops at schools and on mobile devices has changed the way teenagers use the internet, whether it be for social networking or for homework.
Ninety percent of teenagers in the United States have used social networking, and most of them believe it to be more of a positive than negative influence, according to a new report from Common Sense Media’s Program for the Study of Children and Media, Social Media, Social Life: How Teens View Their Digital Lives.
Senior Drew Floyd said the main reason teenagers use social networking and internet blogging is because it’s a way for them to make themselves known to a larger community. However, Floyd said using social networking applications aren’t really an important part of daily life for him.
“I check Facebook and Twitter every day, but I don’t really use them that often,” Floyd said. “I mostly just check to see if anyone has tried to contact me or if anything’s been posted on a group … I guess [teenagers use social networking devices frequently] because people want to be heard and see that people care about what they have to say. And they can feel like people will have to listen to what they say on the internet. People often post things on the social networking sites in hopes of receiving likes or re-tweets as some sort of form of approval.”
And according to, 81 percent of parents of online teens say they are concerned about how much information advertisers can learn about their child’s online behavior, with about 46 percent being “very concerned.”
Jeff Cochran, Digital Media teacher at the Columbia Area Career Center, said data mining, “a fancy name for data analysis,” focuses on the most important data available for analysts to make the most effective predictive decisions. He said the topic of data mining is nothing new but that there is more data available from social media and other places where internet users provide personal information and usage data.
Junior Katy Shi, who received an email address in second grade and a Facebook account in seventh grade, however, thinks, “although it’s true that teenagers sometimes put private information out for everyone to see or say incriminating things, most of the time teenagers just use the internet for fun or for school.”
Shi said her parents never told her much about the Internet except to regulate how much she used it. But 69 percent of parents of online teens are concerned with how their child’s online activity might affect their child’s future academic or employment opportunities, and 69 percent are worried about how their child manages his or her online reputation.
“’The fix’ for teens to use the internet more responsibly,” Cochran said, “means parents and teachers need to model responsible and appropriate behavior.”
By Ipsa Chaudhary