A team of researchers from Pennsylvania State University, reported that compared to adults, teens upload personal information on social media without considering the risks involved.
Haiyan Jia, post-doctoral scholar in information sciences and technology and her colleagues used data from the 'Teens and Privacy Management Survey 2012' done at Pew Research Center. Social media behaviors of 588 US teenagers were assessed.
"Adults often find this very difficult to understand and paradoxical because they are so used to considering possible risks of disclosing information online first and then taking the necessary precautions, based on those concerns," said Jia.
When it comes to taking risk, teens look for protection like turning to adults, removing the questionable post or closing social media accounts rather than prevention.
"A parent's first impulse may be to forbid internet or social media access, but completely avoiding risks may cause other problems. But there is also a danger that without taking on the minimum risks, teenagers will not have access to all the positive benefits the internet can provide, nor will they learn how to manage risk and how to safely navigate this online world," Jia said.
The authors idiomise swimming to explain how teens can be taught to handle social media. "It is a lot like learning to swim. You make sure they enter the water slowly and make sure they know how to swim before you let them swim on their own and in the deeper parts," the authors said.