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Understanding Privacy Behaviors of Millennials within Social Networking Sites

Lupita S-O'Brien, Pamela Read, Jaqueline Woolcott and Chirag Shah

ASIST 2011 Annual Meeting 
New Orleans, LA, October 9-12, 2011


For Millennials, creating and defining an online persona of oneself is something most teens will find themselves doing at some point. Today having an online profile is almost essential to fully network with friends, family, and employers. With the popularity of social networking sites with teens, not a lot is understood how they use them and often teens are thought to overlook the importance of privacy regarding to their online presence. To investigate this, we designed an interview-based study, which included inquiring about their thoughts and practices of privacy habits. This study, interviewing high school seniors, found contrary to popular thought that privacy concerns are significant in both attitudes and practice for young users. Popular media and often-concerned parents have assumed perhaps Generation Y does not comprehend the nuances of Social Networking Sites and believe Facebook is a danger-ridden scape for young people's well being and reputation. Instead this study found, a savvy group of Millennials who understood the potential dangers affiliated with low privacy settings taking precautions with their identity and online personas. The findings from this study along with guidelines set forth for practice and additional research will help the information community better evaluate Millennial behaviors and serve their online needs.

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