Age Differences of Attitude to Privacy on Social Media
As older adults join the digital world in growing numbers, we need to gain a better understanding of how they experience and navigate online privacy.
For example, the size and composition of one’s network may result in differing levels of knowledge gain and social norm awareness, which affect overall well-being and socialization. Despite these contradictory results, the underlying reasons for possible differences in privacy concern between younger and older people and users and nonusers have hardly been explored. However, understanding exactly why younger people report less concern can be useful, for example, for legislators and policy makers, as well as for internet entrepreneurs.
Steijn & Vedder (2015) investigated the privacy conception of adolescents (12- to 19-year-olds), young adults (20- to 30-year olds), and adults (31-years-old and older). They asked respondents which situations, related to autonomy, relationships, personal space, or personal information, they associated with privacy in order to determine the privacy conceptions. Two important differences were reported in that study. Relatively more adolescents associated privacy with situations involving relationships, for example being able to be alone with a partner or friend, whereas relatively more adults associated privacy with those situations that involve personal information, for example, the government collecting data. Here we will focus primarily on the personal information aspect of privacy since this aspect had a stronger relationship with concern regarding privacy while the relational aspect of privacy was only marginally related to concern (Steijn & Vedder, 2015).
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