More teens taking steps to make Facebook profiles private
An increasing number of teenagers are taking steps to make their social media profiles more secure while sharing more personal information than ever, a Pew report indicates.
The Pew Internet & American Life Project report says that 60 percent of teenage Facebook users have set their profiles so that only friends can view their personal information, while another 25 percent have privatized at least some of their profile. Just 14 percent have a completely public profile.
In focus groups, though, the survey of more than 800 teens said that many are increasingly turning away from Facebook. An increase in adults using the social network, oversharing and teenage "drama" are among the reasons survey participants indicated that their enthusiasm for Facebook is ebbing.
While privacy measures among teens has stepped up, so has social sharing, according to the report, Since 2006, the percentage of teens who have posted pictures of themselves onto Facebook has jumped from 79 to 91 percent. Over that same time, the number of teens posting the name of their school and where they live has gone up as well.
In one dramatic gain, the percentage of teens who have posted their cell phone number to Facebook went up from just 2 percent in 2006 to 20 percent in this most recent survey.
Beyond Facebook, the survey says that Twitter use among teens, especially African-Americans, has grown by leaps and bounds since 2001. Twenty-four percent of teens now say they use Twitter, compared to 16 percent in 2011.
Interestingly, 26 percent of teen social media users were on Twitter. That's more than double the figure in 2011 of 12 percent.
"Facebook just really seems to have more drama," said 16-year-old Jaime Esquivel, a junior at C.D. Hylton High School in Woodbridge, Va., in an interview.
Esquivel said he still checks his Facebook account daily but isn't using it as regularly as in the past. He sees teens complaining on Twitter, too, so Esquivel has been using the photo-sharing service Instagram more often, posting a couple of pictures each day and communicating with friends. Facebook purchased Instagram last year.
In what may be a concern to parents, more than 60 percent of the teens with Twitter accounts said their tweets were public, meaning anyone on Twitter - friend, foe or stranger - can see what they write and publish. About one-quarter of kids said their tweets were private and 12 percent said they did not know whether their tweets were public or private.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
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