Tell-All Generation finally figuring out privacy online?

(Clearly this “Phineas and Ferb” internet safety video is meant for a younger audience than the Tell-All Generation, but I think it’s an effective way for my elementary kids to start understanding the threats of social media. This is a correlating video and tips for parents in the digital age.)

A new survey finds that some 20-somethings who grew up sharing everything – compromising photos, rants and raves – on Facebook are finally learning to keep some things offline.

The New York Times headline calls them the “Tell-All Generation” and they spend their high-school and college years sharing liberally on social media – every party photo, every funny prank and every questionable comment. But a new survey from the University of California, Berkeley, finds that this generation is figuring out that oversharing may not be the best idea.

From The New York Times:

“While participation in social networks is still strong, a survey released last month by the University of California, Berkeley, found that more than half the young adults questioned had become more concerned about privacy than they were five years ago — mirroring the number of people their parent’s age or older with that worry.”

“They are more diligent than older adults, however, in trying to protect themselves. In a new study to be released this month, the Pew Internet Project has found that people in their 20s exert more control over their digital reputations than older adults, more vigorously deleting unwanted posts and limiting information about themselves. “Social networking requires vigilance, not only in what you post, but what your friends post about you,” said Mary Madden, a senior research specialist who oversaw the study by Pew, which examines online behavior. “Now you are responsible for everything…”

“That mistrust is translating into action. In the Pew study, to be released shortly, researchers interviewed 2,253 adults late last summer and found that people ages 18 to 29 were more apt to monitor privacy settings than older adults are, and they more often delete comments or remove their names from photos so they cannot be identified. Younger teenagers were not included in these studies, and they may not have the same privacy concerns. But anecdotal evidence suggests that many of them have not had enough experience to understand the downside to oversharing.”

This transition for 20-somethings makes sense to me: As they are now looking for JOBS, they have figured out they don’t want a possible employer to see their weekend antics. (Hey guys, guess what they look for your Twitter accounts too!

Another study from the Pew Internet Project said that younger teens weren’t as concerned about their privacy online. Again, this only makes sense to me: They haven’t learned the important lesson of “Oh that’s going to bite me in the butt later” and they aren’t looking for employment yet.

It also said older people weren’t as concerned about privacy either. I think parents are mostly concerned about privacy for photos of their kids. I know several parents who won’t show their kids’ faces in photos on Facebook. Also, I don’t think most parents are posting photos of their boobs hanging out while their rip-roaring drunk. (At least let’s hope not.)

Years ago, my friend’s 2-year-old used to yell “PRI—VA–CY” at me when she would go to sit on the potty.  It seems the 20-somethings are finally figuring out the same lesson.

What do you make of this survey? Do you think it makes sense that teens who have grown up on this technology are now learning to fear the repercussion?

Is your 20-something or older teen more aware of their privacy online?

Do you worry what your younger teens are sharing? How do you monitor?

Are you worried about your privacy on Facebook or other social media outlets? Do you post photos of your kids on Facebook?

(Be sure to check out the post under this about the Top 10 things parents should know about “Iron Man 2.”)

20 comments Add your comment

fred

May 10th, 2010
7:36 am

First of all I have to say I love Phineus and Ferb. I work at two jobs that are very sensitive to public scrutiny, and I have learned to kep all of my photos private and not to post any photos that could be construed as compromising in any fashion. I do however post photos of my children, mostly for the sake of my parents. I have had freinds who once out of college had to delete their facebook accounts (which you really cant do since signing back in automatically activates them again) once they started looking for jobs, especially those government jobs that required background checks. It is going to take missing out on a job or two for some of these kids to learn what is appropriate to put out there for your boss or potential employer to see before they wise up

tmi

May 10th, 2010
8:48 am

I am constantly amazed by the amount of information people put about themselves online. A friend recently asked me if I had heard that another mutual friend and his wife were getting divorced. I told him that I had not and asked how he knew that. He told me that one of the two had posted intimate details on their facebook page about the divorce, the legal battles, and the circumstances leading to the divorce.

Is nothing personal?

Roswell Jeff

May 10th, 2010
9:23 am

My son tells us that he needs to go “privacy” when he needs to take care of things in the bathroom. It always gets a chuckle out of me.

guy

May 10th, 2010
10:11 am

speaking of jobs, you need to hire an editor. or fire the one you have. do you even reread these things before posting?

Betty Crocker

May 10th, 2010
10:11 am

@tmi..I have a coworker that has a FB page and she doesn’t understand why I don’t want to know every move that someone makes during the day.
I don’t care what color shirt you wear, or what the “cute” guy two seats over did. Please get over yourself people.

guy

May 10th, 2010
10:14 am

there are plenty of 30 plus-ers on facebook who share too much/everything, but most likely because they dont understand how to change privacy settings and such.

Tiger Ochocinco Mellencamp

May 10th, 2010
10:47 am

did anyone see Betty White’s SNL monologue about Facebook? It was classic, and while it was tongue in cheek, it hit the nail on the head!

Becky

May 10th, 2010
10:55 am

@Tiger…I saw it this morning..It was great..

Tiger Ochocinco Mellencamp

May 10th, 2010
11:41 am

Other than the NPR skit she did…best two lines of the show from her were

“When I first heard about the campaign to get me to host Saturday Night Live I didn’t know what Facebook was, and now that I do know what it is I have to say it sounds like a huge waste of time. I would never say that people on it are losers, but that’s only because I’m polite”

and

“In my day seeing pictures of people’s vacations was considered a punishment”

TechMom

May 10th, 2010
12:23 pm

I always talk to my son about nothing being private if you post it online or send it in a text message. So many parents don’t know squat about technology and are afraid of it. I encourage parents of kids who have online profiles to get one and become their kid’s friend so they can see everything they post (I also recommend you know their password and sign in as them on occassion). Our rule is that if you change your password and don’t tell me, you will delete your account.

Since I am friends with my kid and lots of his friends (we talked about this previously) as well as lots of folks from work and church, I use the privacy settings on FB to restrict who can see my pictures and certain posts. Not that I have a bunch of inappropriate pics or anything but there are some things I don’t want to share with everyone (though, as I tell my son, you can never be sure that what you post won’t be seen by the wrong person so don’t post something that will get in trouble, in jail, or force you to lose a friend or your job).

TechMom

May 10th, 2010
12:24 pm

Tiger Ochocinco Mellencamp

May 10th, 2010
12:46 pm

TechMom…watch the NPR bit…it was right up there with Alec Baldwins Schwetty Chocolate Balls one!

motherjanegoose

May 10th, 2010
2:12 pm

@ tiger…LOL about the vacation pictures…yes, I have endured those too!

JJ

May 10th, 2010
2:57 pm

I must be the odd one, but I love looking at other people’s vacation pictures. I’ve seen some beautiful places I would love to visit.

JJ

May 10th, 2010
2:58 pm

I haven’t watched SNL yet, its on the DVR. I did stay up and watch the opening skit, which I thought was incredibly STUPID!!!!! I let the DVR record it so I can zip through it tonight.

TechMom

May 10th, 2010
3:12 pm

I don’t mind vacation pics either. It’s the status update on every mundane thing that happens to someone and all the invites for Farmville, MafiaWars, support xyz, etc. I just hit ignore on the invites and if someone starts sending me too many, I hide them.

Becky

May 10th, 2010
3:43 pm

@TechMom..I am so with you on Farmville and all that stuff..I have a couple of coworkers that are on that and they can’t understand why I don’t want to be a part of it..One coworker (as mentioned in past postings) has a daughter in college and she calls her Mom about 15 times per day to tell her every single move of her day..Not interested..

motherjanegoose

May 10th, 2010
4:58 pm

There are vacation pictures and there are VACATION pictures….a dozen or so of the same scene.
We took so many when we first married, that we rarely take any now. You can only look at the same beach photos so many times. JMHO.

abc

May 10th, 2010
5:45 pm

Even if you think you’ve made yourself less vulnerable by editing things already posted, once it’s posted, it belongs to the site, and the site accumulates, aggregates, profiles and sells the information. They’ll also sell raw data that’s cleansed and verified by those that purchase it, for purposes of profiling. It goes beyond targeted marketing to estimating credit worthiness, insureability, employability, etc. It’s all available via services that operate something like credit bureaus.

They’re in it to make money, and advertising on the site itself doesn’t make a pot of gold. Marketing and re-marketing of profiling information is where the money is at. With Facebook’s latest, they’ll be tracking your activities everywhere you surf on the web. They could take the invasive lead from Google.

Giles Lewey

May 11th, 2010
10:44 am

Well, even if the embarrassing photos you posted are “deleted” from a social network, they aren’t necessarily gone. Sometimes they’re left on the server. You may find this link interesting: http://arstechnica.com/web/news/2009/07/are-those-photos-really-deleted-from-facebook-think-twice.ars

Giles, Senior Editor, TrustWorks