Monday, November 17, 2008

Issues of Privacy

For today’s reading, we had to read “A privacy paradox: social networking in the United States” by Susan B. Barnes. This reading is about the privacy issues with social networking in regards to teenagers. According to the reading, one of the biggest problems with teenagers interacting in these networks is that they are learning how to use them from their friends, not from their parents or teachers. This is a problem because teenagers reveal most of their intimate thoughts and behaviors online. So when they believe that their information is private, not only do marketers read what is being revealed, but also college administration, teachers, and parents (Barnes, 2006). They need to realize that sharing personal information on social networks with online friends also means sharing with parents, future employees, and university officials. This can directly influence a student’s education, employment, and financial future (Barnes, 2006).

According to the reading, another problem with privacy is that the government agency marketers collect personal data about them using this information. This is seen as a problem because many people don’t even know that their privacy is being jeopardized and they do not know how to keep their personal information safe (Barnes, 2006). According to Barnes, adults are concerned about the invasion of their privacy, while teenagers give up their personal information so willingly.

Later on in the reading, it talks about how when teenagers are giving up their personal information, this information could also be used by data-miners. Some of the solutions discussed in the reading include getting the parents more involved. Also, some schools have tried to make the students aware of the possible dangers of giving up too much information, even not allowing some students and athletes to be on any of these social networks.

After reading this, I realized that I too may be putting too much personal information about me on these networks. Although I do not have MySpace, I do have my name, address, birth date, and e-mail address on Facebook. I did not see it as that much of a problem because I thought my friends were the only ones that could see it. I knew that once I got out of college that I was either going to delete my Facebook, or change the privacy preferences on it so no pictures or information about me was available to anyone I didn’t authorize. After reading this, I might be doing that sooner than later.

Barnes, Susan B. (2006)A privacy paradox: social networking in the United States. First Monday, 11. Retrieved on August 21, 2008 from

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