Teens share a wide range of information about themselves on social media sites;1 indeed the sites themselves are designed to encourage the sharing of information and the expansion of networks. However, few teens embrace a fully public approach to social media. Instead, they take an array of steps to restrict and prune their profiles, and their patterns of reputation management on social media vary greatly according to their gender and network size. These are among the key findings from a new report based on a survey of 802 teens that examines teens’ privacy management on social media sites:
Teens are sharing more information about themselves on social media sites than they did in the
past. For the five different types of personal information that we measured in both 2006 and
2012, each is significantly more likely to be shared by teen social media users in our most recent
Teen Twitter use has grown significantly: 24% of online teens use Twitter, up from 16% in 2011.
The typical (median) teen Facebook user has 300 friends, while the typical teen Twitter user has
Focus group discussions with teens show that they have waning enthusiasm for Facebook,
disliking the increasing adult presence, people sharing excessively, and stressful “drama,” but
they keep using it because participation is an important part of overall teenage socializing.
60% of teen Facebook users keep their profiles private, and most report high levels of
confidence in their ability to manage their settings.
Teens take other steps to shape their reputation, manage their networks, and mask information
they don’t want others to know; 74% of teen social media users have deleted people from their
network or friends list.
Teen social media users do not express a high level of concern about third-party access to their
data; just 9% say they are “very” concerned.
On Facebook, increasing network size goes hand in hand with network variety, information
sharing, and personal information management.
In broad measures of online experience, teens are considerably more likely to report positive
experiences than negative ones. For instance, 52% of online teens say they have had an
experience online that made them feel good about themselves.