How Clever Teens Maintain Their Privacy Online

Aside from simple solutions like temporary Facebook deactivations and diversifying social media platforms, teenagers are also able to hide in plain sight by leaning on abstract methods of communication.

It's one of the unwritten laws of the internet: kids just seem to be better at it than everyone else. Teenagers are able to maneuver through the web with cunning and ease. A recent article in Reason offered some info on the subject, as well as how kids keep their internet business to themselves. They spoke to social media scholar danah boyd (who purposefully uncapitalizes her name), the author of It's Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens, about kids and internet privacy.


As boyd points out, teens use two simple solutions to keep their online business from attracting unwanted eyes. The first is the routine deactivation of their Facebook accounts, taking their information off the public grid for certain time stretches. The second is platform jumping and the diversification of social media outlets. These are easy ways for teens to avoid unwanted attention, especially from that Aunt Norma always sending embarrassing tag requests. Kids don't want to connect with parents or relatives; they want to be left alone when online.

More fascinating is boyd's explanation of "social steganography," a hidden-in-plain-sight vernacular that teens employ to communicate cryptically. 

"The most common way teens find privacy is not by restricting access to content, but by restricting access to meaning. They encode what they're posting using in-jokes, song lyrics, pronouns, and references that outsiders won't recognize."

Take a look at the short article (linked again below) for more information.

Keep reading at Reason

Photo credit: Monkey Business Images / Shutterstock

Compelling speakers do these 4 things every single time

The ability to speak clearly, succinctly, and powerfully is easier than you think

Former U.S. President Barack Obama speaks during a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee rally at the Anaheim Convention Center on September 8, 2018 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Barbara Davidson/Getty Images)
Personal Growth

The ability to communicate effectively can make or break a person's assessment of your intelligence, competence, and authenticity.

Keep reading Show less

This 5-minute neck scan can spot dementia 10 years before it emerges

The results come from a 15-year study that used ultrasound scans to track blood vessels in middle-aged adults starting in 2002.

Mikhail Kalinin via Wikipedia
Mind & Brain
  • The study measured the stiffness of blood vessels in middle-aged patients over time.
  • Stiff blood vessels can lead to the destruction of delicate blood vessels in the brain, which can contribute to cognitive decline.
  • The scans could someday become a widely used tool to identify people at high risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer's.
Keep reading Show less

Preserving truth: How to confront and correct fake news

Journalism got a big wake up call in 2016. Can we be optimistic about the future of media?

Videos
  • "[T]o have a democracy that thrives and actually that manages to stay alive at all, you need regular citizens being able to get good, solid information," says Craig Newmark.
  • The only constructive way to deal with fake news? Support trustworthy media. In 2018, Newmark was announced as a major donor of two new media organizations, The City, which will report on New York City-area stories which may have otherwise gone unreported, and The Markup, which will report on technology.
  • Greater transparency of fact-checking within media organizations could help confront and correct fake news. Organizations already exist to make media more trustworthy — are we using them? There's The Trust Project, International Fact-Checkers Network, and Tech & Check.
Keep reading Show less