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Teens rely on themselves when it comes to social media privacy

Thursday - 8/15/2013, 10:12am  ET

WASHINGTON - Social media pages belonging to teenagers may be more private than those of their parents, according to a new report.

The Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project says 70 percent of young people between 12 and 17 seek help in setting up privacy on their social media pages, such as Facebook.

Researcher Amanda Lenhart, said that often means preventing their parents from seeing their posts.

"Teens do engage in special settings for parents, and they're motivated in doing that because teens have things in their lives they don't necessarily want their parents to see," she said.

She says many teens don't ask their parents for advice because they don't think their parents know a lot about it.

Lenhart says girls are more likely to have tighter privacy settings than boys.

"That's something we see throughout the use of media and technology," she said.

Teens do use a variety of sources to find out about privacy settings, according to a Pew survey:

  • 42 percent have talked to friends or peers;
  • 41 percent have talked to a parent;
  • 37 percent have asked a sibling or cousin;
  • 13 percent have gone to a website for advice;
  • 9 percent have asked a teacher.

Pew surveyed 802 parents and their 802 teens by telephone between July 26, 2012 and Sept. 30, 2012. The survey has a margin of error of 4.5 percent.

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