Remember what it was like to be 16? Most of us didn’t have a job yet. Mommy or daddy was the bank, running to them whenever we needed money. School was where the most interesting things would happen to us. It contained the majority of our social network of friends and it was where we spent the most time. It’s also the place where we kept most of our secrets; and some of us buried them there.
I remember not really having that much privacy. My mom was in my room all the time, she knew all my friends, and my location (at any time she could give you the GPS pinpoint location); so what little privacy I had at 16, I cherished. Secrets were something to be hoarded; eventually dying on that basketball court, near that special tree, or even, on that lunch table.
With over 1 billion active users, Facebook has become our outlet for posting pictures, videos, or just saying where we’re at and who’s with us. It seems as if teens, in particular, are posting more openly; not caring about who sees their pictures or what’s going on in them. A teacher of technology for inner city students quotes:
“I know which of my teenage students smokes weed in the park after class on Fridays, and which other students are with him. I know which ones are struggling with making friends in their first few weeks at college, and which ones aren’t. I know which of my students chafe against overly strict parents on a regular basis. I know which one spends every weekend in the hospital due to a chronic condition. I know which ones got arrested last night. I know all these things because I follow them all on various social media services. And they know I know.”
So what does this mean? That teens are less concerned with privacy? That they want to show off their defiant behavior? Actually, they know more about the privacy settings than most adults. In a recent Pew study, results say that teens and young adults are the most likely to use strategies to be less visible online. The teacher from this quote ran a summer program to teach inner city teens about jobs in technology. During the program, they held a four hour session dedicated to the privacy settings on most of the social media platforms. What they found, was that the teens, not only knew most the privacy settings already, but they were actually bored during the seminars. Which was not the case for other seminars: html intro, programming jobs, even basic informatics held their attention more. These teens stated that instead of logging out of Facebook every time, they actually de-activate their account (leaving them invisible while not logged in) until logging back in and re-activating it.
In conclusion, with all the new privacy apps and VPN programs popping up everywhere, this is a direct message to their marketing directors!! Teens are very aware of the importance of privacy and should be considered an important target audience, in every market strategy.
*This is a guest post courtesy of our cool intern from the US, Eramus