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Free Content Disclosure of personal and contact information by young people in social networking sites: An analysis using Facebook profiles as an example

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In the context of the European Safer Internet project EU Kids Online, the aim of this article is to address how young people deal with privacy issues in social networking sites, using Facebook as an example. The study on which it is based examined the type of personal and contact information young people disclose through their profiles. In addition, it assessed gender differences in the disclosure of personal and contact information. A hundred and thirty-one Facebook member profiles were observed, selected to fit the European Commission's youth age range of 1330. Results suggested that most people regardless of gender enter full name, facial pictures, hometown and e-mail addresses in their profiles. However, males are more likely than females to disclose mobile phone number, home address and instant messaging (IM) screen names. Consistent with the past literature, youth, especially between the ages of 18 and 22, seem unaware of the potential dangers they are facing when entering real personal and contact information in their profiles while accepting friendship requests from strangers. Recommendations for future research include investigating the levels of awareness young people have when disclosing information about themselves that can potentially harm them in more ways than one.

Keywords: Facebook; Safer Internet; Web 2.0; gender differences; interactive; online communications; privacy; profile; social networking sites; youth

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Cyprus Neuroscience & Technology Institute. 2: Eastern Mediterranean University.

Publication date: 2010-01-01

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  • The International Journal of Media and Cultural Politics is committed to analyzing the politics of communication(s) and cultural processes. It addresses cultural politics in their local, international and global dimensions, recognizing equally the importance of issues defined by their specific cultural geography and those that traverse cultures and nations.
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