Privacy policies have changed drastically in the past few decades. My idea of privacy as a teen differs from my parents. I hear “Hunny, don’t put your school’s name on Facebook” or “Don’t add people you don’t know!” It’s undoubtedly decent advice, but does it really mean much to me? Not really.
With over 500 million users, Facebook’s privacy policies influence many people. An MSNBC.com survey found that 60% of respondents feel their privacy is “slipping away, and that bothers [them].” However, only 7% of Americans change their behavior in an effort to preserve their privacy. It seems that what people say and how they act are totally different matters.
People are willing to give up just about any personal information, including social security numbers and home addresses just to get their hands on discounts or other shopping offers through email marketing. For instance, consider EZ-passes. Very few drivers change any behaviors to avoid the EZ-pass system, a system that’s capable of geographically tracking their movements.
My idea of privacy as a teen means that I’m not willing to share the most personal aspects of my life online. My parents’ idea means reading through the privacy policies of every website asking for their email. I grew up in a generation where it is easy to find out about someone just by looking at their Facebook, Flickr, Tumblr, or various other social networking sites. Learning about people’s private lives through their relationship changes, new pictures, and even their “likes” on Facebook is literally a few clicks away. Just recently I discovered some unflattering cross-country pictures of myself just by typing in my own name on Google. And how long had it been online for the whole world to see? About four years. Lovely.
How important is privacy to you? How much are you willing to reveal about your identity to the online community?
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