Teens' Online Safety Improved by Education, Research Shows

Nov 21, 2008

Think protecting young teenagers on the Internet is important? Then be sure they think it's important, too, according to a forthcoming article in IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication.

Researchers from the University at Buffalo and University of Maryland surveyed 285 preteens and early teenagers, both male and female, to determine how important they felt it was to protect their privacy online and if those beliefs affected what actions they took to protect that privacy.

Students were asked whether they protected their personal information on the Internet, whether they opened e-mails from unknown senders and whether they downloaded files from unknown people or Web sites.

The researchers found that preteens and early teenagers who were educated on the importance of Internet privacy through school, parents or the media were more likely to practice online safety than those who weren't.

Furthermore, among teachers, peers and parents, the researchers found that parents were the most influential.

A surprising result of the study was that experiencing a privacy breach online did not cause teens to improve their online safety practices, according to one of the researchers, H. R. Rao, professor of management science and systems in the UB School of Management

"Students who experience Internet privacy breaches or computer security problems show less protective behavior on the Internet," says Rao. "This increases the chances that they will be victims again in the future."

The study also showed that girls tend to practice more protective behavior on the Web than boys. The researchers believe this is because girls consider online privacy more important than boys do.

Provided by University at Buffalo

Explore further: Ig Nobel winner: Using pork to stop nosebleeds

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

A Closer Look: Your (online) life after death

Sep 16, 2014

Sure, you have a lot to do today—laundry, bills, dinner—but it's never too early to start planning for your digital afterlife, the fate of your numerous online accounts once you shed this mortal coil.

US threatened Yahoo with huge fine over surveillance

Sep 11, 2014

US authorities threatened to fine Yahoo $250,000 a day if it failed to comply with a secret surveillance program requiring it to hand over user data in the name of national security, court documents showed ...

Recommended for you

Ig Nobel winner: Using pork to stop nosebleeds

8 hours ago

There's some truth to the effectiveness of folk remedies and old wives' tales when it comes to serious medical issues, according to findings by a team from Detroit Medical Center.

History books spark latest Texas classroom battle

Sep 16, 2014

As Texas mulls new history textbooks for its 5-plus million public school students, some academics are decrying lessons they say exaggerate the influence of Christian values on America's Founding Fathers.

Flatow, 'Science Friday' settle claims over grant

Sep 16, 2014

Federal prosecutors say radio host Ira Flatow and his "Science Friday" show that airs on many National Public Radio stations have settled civil claims that they misused money from a nearly $1 million federal ...

User comments : 0