Most Teens Take Online Privacy Seriously, But Still Share Personal Info on Facebook

Are teens using social media responsibly? A new study conducted by the Pew Research Center sheds light on how teenagers are using sites like Facebook and Twitter, as well as how they view their online privacy both in terms of managing their settings and the level of concern over third-party access to their data.

As you might expect, the study found that "teens share a wide range of information" on social media sites, but lest you think they're being totally irresponsible, Pew Research Center found that "few teens embrace a fully public approach," instead taking "steps to restrict and prune their profiles."

Teen Social  Media Graph
Source: Pew Research Center

It's an interesting mix of findings in the lengthy report. For example, Pew Research Center says that 91 percent of teens post photos of themselves, up from 79 percent in 2006; 71 percent post their school's name, up from 49 percent; 71 percent post the city or town where they live, up from 61 percent; and 92 percent attach their real name to the profile they use most often. In addition, more than half post their email address, and 2 out of 10 teens post their cell phone number on social media sites.

While teens may be a little liberal with the information they share across social media, 60 percent of those surveyed say they keep their Facebook profiles private, and another 25 percent keep their profiles partially private, limiting access to friends of their friends.

Image Source: Flickr (Sean MacEntee)

Over half of teen Facebook users (56 percent) say it's "not difficult at all" to manage privacy controls on their Facebook profiles, and 33 percent say it's "not too difficult." Only 8 percent deem the process "somewhat difficult" and less than 1 percent say it's "very difficult."

Most teens also report being proactive when it comes to editing profile content. For example, 59 percent have deleted or edited something they have posted in the past, and 53 percent have deleted comments from others on their profile or account.