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Parents’ and Teens’ Perspectives on Privacy In a Technology-Filled World
Lorrie Faith Cranor, Adam L. Durity, Abigail Marsh, and Blase Ur, Carnegie Mellon University
The life of a teenager today is far different than in past decades. Through semi-structured interviews with 10 teenagers and 10 parents of teenagers, we investigate parent-teen privacy decision making in these uncharted waters. Parents and teens generally agreed that teens had a need for some degree of privacy from their parents and that respecting teens’ privacy demonstrated trust and fostered independence. We explored the boundaries of teen privacy in both the physical and digital worlds. While parents commonly felt none of their children’s possessions should ethically be exempt from parental monitoring, teens felt strongly that cell phones, particularly text messages, were private. Parents discussed struggling to keep up with new technologies and to understand teens’ technology-mediated socializing. While most parents said they thought similarly about privacy in the physical and digital worlds, half of teens said they thought about these concepts differently. We present cases where parents made privacy decisions using false analogies with the physical world or outdated assumptions. We also highlight directions for more usable digital parenting tools.
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