Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Revealing information in the information age

Date:
June 30, 2011
Source:
Northumbria University
Summary:
The young and old are happier to disclose personal information on the Internet than the middle-aged, who show most interest in guarding their privacy, say researchers.

The young and old are happier to disclose personal information on the internet than the middle-aged, who show most interest in guarding their privacy, say researchers.

A study by Northumbria University academics has found that although computer users, in the age of Facebook and social networking, are increasingly willing to disclose sensitive personal information online, there is a U-shaped curve whereby the youngest and oldest members of society are less protective of their privacy than those who are middle-aged.

The study, entitled 'Who knows about me? An analysis of age-related disclosure preferences,' was conducted by Dr Linda Little, a Senior Lecturer within the Psychology Department; Professor Pam Briggs, Dean of the School of Life Sciences and co-director of the University's Psychology and Communication Technology (PaCT) Lab; and Lynne Coventry, Director of the (PaCT) Lab.

Their research is the first to examine differences in internet self-disclosure across age groups. For the study they examined more than 1,200 responses to a questionnaire measuring beliefs about information sensitivity and preferred levels of disclosure.

Participants, ranging in age from 18 to 65, were asked how comfortable they were in revealing their personal identity, health and lifestyle details, and financial information to a list of recipients, including health professionals, family, friends, work acquaintances, employer, private companies, and government agencies.

The results found that all participants were extremely willing to provide their personal identity data -- including name and date of birth -- to either health professionals or family and friends, with no differences between the age groups. However, participants aged 36 to 55 feel significantly less comfortable disclosing personal identity information to external companies in comparison to those under 35 and over 56. They also felt less comfortable disclosing details of their lifestyle to family and friends. And those over 56 felt least comfortable disclosing financial information to external companies in comparison to the under 35s.

The study is the first in a series of investigations that will explore tools that can capture individual differences in disclosure preferences. The aim is to provide new data and techniques in support of the development of individual privacy management tools.

Professor Pam Briggs said: "Our youngest and oldest have told us they're happier to share personal information than those in middle-age. One interpretation is that, as we enter middle-age, we become more aware of the implications of data sharing -- we understand the ways in which personal data has value. As we engage more fully with society we come to realise both the costs and benefits of disclosing data and also realise that we may have more to lose -- in terms of our status in society and specific monetary issues such as salary and insurance privileges. Later, as we move into our sixties and beyond, we regain a willingness to disclose information in all but the financial domain.

"Older adults feel that, aside from financial data, they have nothing to hide from the wider public therefore are more open online. Young adults have something to hide but arguably don't fully understand the wider implications of not hiding it!

"An interesting question for future research is whether or not young adults living in the internet age will continue to be open with regard to revealing personal information or if experience will change their behaviour."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Northumbria University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Northumbria University. "Revealing information in the information age." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 June 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110630091703.htm>.
Northumbria University. (2011, June 30). Revealing information in the information age. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110630091703.htm
Northumbria University. "Revealing information in the information age." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110630091703.htm (accessed April 17, 2014).

Share This



More Science & Society News

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Are School Dress Codes Too Strict?

Are School Dress Codes Too Strict?

AP (Apr. 16, 2014) Pushing the limits on style and self-expression is a rite of passage for teens and even younger kids. How far should schools go with their dress codes? The courts have sided with schools in an era when school safety is paramount. (April 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Thousands Of Vials Of SARS Virus Go Missing

Thousands Of Vials Of SARS Virus Go Missing

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A research institute in Paris somehow misplaced more than 2,000 vials of the deadly SARS virus. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
NYPD Ends Muslim Surveillance Program

NYPD Ends Muslim Surveillance Program

AP (Apr. 15, 2014) The New York City Police Department has ended a program that once kept tabs on the city's muslim population. (April 15) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins