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Posted at 2:21 PM ET, 10/ 8/2010

Poll: Kids say their friends share too much online

By Valerie Strauss

A new poll of teens and parents reveals that 92 percent of parents are concerned that their children share too much personal information online, and 79 percent of kids think their friends do, too.

The poll, conducted by Zogby International for Common Sense Media, also found that a majority of parents want Congress to update online privacy laws for children and teens, and that both parents and teens want online companies to get their permission before using their personal information for marketing.

Seventy percent of parents think schools should educate students about online privacy. But the results of the poll on the Common Sense Media Web site don’t indicate that parents were asked in any great detail about their own responsibility in monitoring their kids’ online life.

Common Sense Media is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping families make good decisions about their use of media and entertainment. In line with the poll, the organization has launched the Common Sense Privacy Campaign to help families protect their kids’ personal information on line.

Following are more results from the poll, and then some basic privacy tips for parents:

According to the poll:

*85 percent of parents say they are more concerned about online privacy than they were five years ago.
*69 percent of parents believe that online privacy is a shared responsibility of individuals and online companies
*91 percent of parents think search engines and social networking sites should get their permission before sharing a kid’s physical location with other companies.
*51 percent of parents say they always/sometimes read Terms of Service.
*91 percent of parent say they’d take more time to read Terms of Service if they were shorter and clearer.

Here are the privacy tips Common Sense Media offers to parents, and you can find a lot more information at the this Web site.

1) Make sure kids always use privacy settings.
You don’t want your kids to be publicly searchable on Facebook or any other social network.

2) No location sharing!
Kids who use location-sharing programs to reveal where they are leave themselves open to unwanted personal contact.

3) No questionnaires, free giveaways or contests!
Companies take kids’ information and use it to market to them.

4) Make sure kids look for the opt-out buttons.
When kids register for a site or download an app, make sure they check the box to op-out of information sharing.

5) When in doubt, check it out.
Do your homework on any product your child is using.

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By Valerie Strauss  | October 8, 2010; 2:21 PM ET
Categories:  Research, Technology  | Tags:  apps, common sense media, contests on line, facebook, opt out buttons, opt-out, privacy, privacy online, privacy settings, social media  
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Next: P.S.: Stephen Colbert blew it on schools, too


Parents could raise kids who are quicker to defend their privacy if they--and the schools--respected kids privacy more. Why should a kid whose parents put a device in his backpack so they can find out exactly where he is at any moment hesitate to reveal his whereabouts on a location-sharing program? Schools regularly violate students' rights against unreasonable search and seizure by conducting random drug sweeps, and it took a Supreme Court decision to stop a school from conducting a strip search of a student, so why should they think a Term of Service agreement has any effect on them? A place I worked at once fired a 19-year-old for looking at some pay records that were accidentally left out. (She said things that indicated she not only saw what was on the desk but had turned the pages and looked through them.) When the manager tried to explain that was like reading someone else's mail, the woman didn't understand why THAT was wrong--in her family, she said, whoever picked up the mail opened all of it and read it to everyone.

Why should youngsters protect their online privacy when they've never had any in any other area and don't even realize they are entitled to any privacy?

Posted by: sideswiththekids | October 8, 2010 10:35 PM | Report abuse

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