A Call to Action: The Privacy Dangers Adolescents Face Through Use of Facebook.com

Linda Christiansen, Deborah Maree Gray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Adolescents today will spend the equivalent of 23 years of their lifetime on the Internet; 10 years of that span will be spent on social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace. Research has been conducted that suggests teens are largely unaware and unconcerned about protecting their privacy online. They are also unaware of the future implications of creating a digital footprint in today’s online legal environment. In fact, industry reports suggest teens openly divulge risky behavior on their social networking web pages. Currently in the U.S., adolescents between the ages of 13 and 18 are treated as adults in terms of information privacy law. The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) law currently restricts data collection from children under the age of 13, but does not restrict data collection from teens 13 or older. Conventional wisdom suggests businesses, policy makers, educators, and parents should be informed of social networking uses that will have a negative future impact on adolescents. No research has been conducted that explores the complexity of privacy policies that apply to this privacy-naïve segment of the market. This paper advances teen information privacy research by reviewing current research, comparing the complexity of privacy policies as they apply to the COPPA law and addressing the immediate need for future research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17-33
JournalJournal of Information Privacy and Security
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 2010


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