Contextualised Concerns The Online Privacy Attitudes of Young Adults Michael Dowd August 2010 Presentation structure • Brief summary and critical evaluation of existing research. • Outline of research approach. • Presentation of interim findings. VOME • Visualisation and Other Methods of Expression – Exploring how people engage with concepts of privacy and consent in online interactions. – Collaborative project: The University of Salford, RHUL, Cranfield University, Sunderland City Council and Consult Hyperion. – Funded by TSB/EPSRC/ESRC under the EPAC (Ensuring Privacy and Consent) programme. – http://www.vome.org.uk Existing research Survey based research: key findings • ‘Determinant factors’: – Gender (Hoy and Milne, 2010; Coles-Kemp et al, 2010; Cho et al, 2009; Garbarino & Strahilevitz, 2004; Sheehan, 1999). – Age (Cho et al, 2009; Bellman et al, 2004; Nowak & Phelps, 1992). – Levels of education (Milne & Gordon, 1994; Wang & Petrison, 1993; Nowak & Phelps, 1992) – Levels of internet experience? • ‘Privacy paradox’ Qualitative research into social networking sites • Not just Danah Boyd! – Sonia Livingstone, Kate Raynes-Goldie, Susannah Stern, Jenny Ryan, Jane Lewis and Anne West… • Generation of rich, contextual data: – Innovative privacy protective behaviours. – Provides a nuanced picture. • Shortcomings: • More ‘niche’ sites neglected. • Cross-contextual comparisons cannot be made. Research approach • Sample: Young adults (16-20, born between 1990 and 1994). • Method: semi-structured interviews. – “…instead of asking abstract questions, or taking a ‘one-sizefits-all’ structured approach, you may want to give maximum opportunity for the construction of contextual knowledge by focusing on relevant specifics in each interview […] The point really is that if what you are interested in, ontologically and epistemologically speaking, is for example a social process which operates situationally, then you will need to ask situational rather than abstract questions.” (Mason, 2002: 64). – Take place next to a laptop with internet access. Interim findings • Self-confidence: – Frank: “I got an ‘A’ in ICT so I know most stuff about computers and the internet” • Personal responsibility: – Luke: “…it’s just what you get yourself into, what you allow yourself to get into” • Deception: – Strangers vs. Known parties. Interim findings • ‘Identity theft’: threat to reputation. • Gender issues: – Meeting ‘new girls’ • Frank: “Obviously you’re gonna try and get chatting on to them” – Online harassment • Julie: “Ah, all the men and stuff adding me all the time” – Stereotypes • ‘Dirty old men’ • Vulnerable women Conclusion • Provided outline of research and its relationship with existing literature. • Contended that the value of social science in this area is in contributing rich, situated data which can help us understand privacy attitudes in context. • Called for more qualitative research into online privacy attitudes: not just into Facebook! Thank you for listening! Bibliography • • • • • • • • • • • • • boyd, D. (2007). Why Youth (Heart) Social Network Sites: The Role of Networked Publics. In D. Buckingham, ed. Youth, Identity and Digital Media. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, pp. 119–142 Cho, H; Rivera-Sanchez, M. and Lim, S.S. 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