- Bob Evans restaurant in Cape Girardeau among chain's 21 closings (04/26/16)9
- Cape student sues, accuses school officials of slamming her to ground multiple times (04/28/16)40
- Two hurt in motorcycle wreck on Interstate 55 (04/25/16)1
- Ray's of Kelso, Plaza by Ray's to change ownership; Fonn to buy enterprise (04/20/16)3
- Missouri House votes to allow concealed weapons without permits (04/28/16)6
- Cape council approves nearly $1M in park, sculpture projects with little public discussion (04/22/16)37
- Law firm requests information about Cape's traffic cameras (04/25/16)2
- Tanker truck catches fire near Oak Ridge (04/24/16)7
- Local lawmakers split over failed medical marijuana bill; voters may have a say (04/26/16)19
- Local company makes eco-friendly kitty litter that cuts cat-box smell (04/25/16)
Teens limit social-networking data and access, study finds
NEW YORK -- Teens generally don't think twice about including their first names and photos on their personal online profiles, but most refrain from using full names or making their profiles fully public, a new survey finds.
The Pew Internet and American Life Project reported last week that two-thirds of teens with profiles on blogs or social-networking sites have restricted access to their profiles in some fashion, such as by requiring passwords or making them available only to friends on an approved list.
The study comes amid growing concerns about online predators and other dangers on popular online hangouts like News Corp.'s MySpace and Facebook, which encourage their youth-oriented visitors to expand their circles of friends through messaging tools and personal profile pages.
Social-networking sites have responded by offering users more controls over how much they make public and warning them about revealing too much.
Safety versus sharing
According to Pew, fewer than a third of teens with profiles use their last names, and a similar number include their e-mail addresses. Only 2 percent list their cell phone numbers.
But 79 percent have included photos of themselves, with girls more likely to do so. Eighty-two percent use their first names, and half identify their schools.
"Teens are manifesting the tension between wanting to keep themselves safe online and wanting to share themselves with their friends and potentially make new ones," said Amanda Lenhart, a senior research specialist at Pew. "Teens, particularly girls and younger teens, have gotten the message about protecting themselves on social networks, but the fun of these networks is the ability to share yourself with others on them."
Dashiell Feiler, a 16-year-old high school junior, said he keeps his profiles open, but uses at most his first name and last initial. He said people who find him tend to be friends anyway, but he left off his full name as a precaution.
"I just thought I didn't want anybody to figure out where I live," he said.
According to Pew, 45 percent of online teens do not have profiles at all, a figure that contradicts widespread perceptions that the nation's youths are continually on MySpace. Lenhart said younger teens, in particular, tend to stay away, some because they fail to meet a site's minimum age requirements.
Most of the teens with profiles say they use the sites to stay in touch with existing friends. Only half of teens with social-networking profiles say they use the sites to make new friends.
A third of teens online say they have been contacted by strangers, not necessarily through social-networking sites. Of those, 21 percent say they responded to learn more about that person, and 23 percent say they felt scared or uncomfortable by the encounter.
The telephone study of 935 American youths, ages 12 to 17, and their parents was conducted Oct. 23 to Nov. 19 and has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.