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Just 9 percent of teens were “very concerned” about third parties, usually private businesses, harvesting data about them and their online behavior for marketing or other purposes. Among parents, 46 percent were “very concerned” about the practice.
Thiel-Stern chalked that divide up to some naiveté on the part of teens and broader generational differences.
“Younger people tend to see targeted marketing as a benefit to them,” she said. “Older generations probably find that creepy and annoying.”
Still, she said, the study makes clear that messages about online safety from parents and teachers have sunk in for most teens. Certainly, a few will make grave mistakes, but many more will socialize online without incident.
Ibad Jafri, 18, of Eagan, doesn’t post his phone number or address on his Facebook profile because, he said, “there’s no need for that information to be out there.”
He’s also careful about sharing strong opinions or anything that could be compromising in the future.
“A lot of it is about building an image,” Jafri said. “When you have 600 friends or so, you don’t share anything with them that you wouldn’t share with the world at large.”
Katie Humphrey • 612-673-4758