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Young people - online by themselves and often a victim of annoyance

Published on: 12.11.08
Source: Kieler Nachrichten

The University of Kiel (Institute of Psychology) published a survey about Internet use and data privacy by young people. It reveals, that young people publish a lot of personal data in the Internet and are at risk to be a victim of annoyance. 76% of the 1.277 interviewed children and young people in the north of Germany (mainly in the age of 15 to 17 years) are active users of forums, chatrooms or social community platforms like SchuelerVZ or MySpace. The young users create their own profile with personal data like hobbies and pictures - often without restrictions, who can obtain their disclosed information.

Three-fourths of the sample told that they had media literacy as a subject in schools, but in grammar schools they learn firstly how to search online while data privacy and security are rather topics in lower secondary schools. Furthermore their parents’ attention is only marginal, only 39% of the young people declared that their parents do not even care about the Internet use of their children; filter programmes are hardly not installed.

But the young people themselves are confident that they have sufficient competences and are aware of the potential risks. Nevertheless every fifth of the surveyed young people has experienced abuse, threats or circulation of rumors in the last three months. Most of them are not aware that disclosing private information may have negative effects like they have been confronted with. The authors stated that it is difficult for young people to differentiate between the virtual and the real world, for example if an act of violence is announced online young people can hardly estimate if it is a real threat or not.

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