Closing the Barn Door: The Effect of Parental Supervision on Canadian Children's Online Privacy

Bulletin of Science, Technology and Society 28 (1):4-19 (2008)
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Empirical data from a large sample of Canadian youth aged 13 to 17 years suggest that, although the current privacy policy framework is having a positive effect on the extent to which young people are complying with the types of behavior promoted by adults as privacy protective, its primary focus on parental supervision is inadequate to fully protect children's online privacy. Respondents with high levels of either social interaction or identity play are more likely than those with lower levels to divulge personal identifiers and display privacy-risky behavior, independent of their level of parental supervision. High levels of parental supervision, therefore, do not eliminate but merely reduce privacy-risky behaviors associated with social uses of the Internet. As such, parental supervision cannot adequately protect children who have integrated the Net most fully into their social lives, especially given the high premium that children place on the use of the Net to talk to friends and explore social roles.



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