Digital Paranoia: Unfriendly Social Media Climate Affecting Social Networking Activities

Digital Paranoia: Unfriendly Social Media Climate Affecting Social Networking Activities

Ramona Sue McNeal (University of Northern Iowa, USA) and Mary Schmeida (Kent State University, USA)
Copyright: © 2015 |Pages: 18
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8556-7.ch011
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Abstract

Participation in social networks, forums, and other discussion groups is a growing trend in the United States. Aside from the benefits of online social media, there is a growing concern about privacy and safety from the devolvement of personal information online. As a result of this unfriendly social media climate, Americans are taking measures to protect personal identity and to avoid surveillance by others. The purpose of this chapter is to analyze factors predicting which groups are most concerned about Internet privacy. In addition, this chapter explores how concerns regarding Information privacy are impacting usage of social network sites. We explore these questions using multivariate regression analysis and individual level data from the Pew Internet and American Life Project. Our findings suggest that those with the greatest fears regarding online privacy are not staying offline but are taking necessary precautions to address concerns.
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Background

Socialization online is becoming a popular activity in the United States. Accessibility to social media interaction is easy, with new generation technological devices such as tablet computers and the multifunctional cell phones (for example Smartphones), becoming more available. The benefits to social networking and online forums range from sharing personal opinion(s) to discussion of political events and political activism. Social media is also becoming a common meeting place for the online health community for sharing caregiver experiences and provide emotional support. However, the devolvement of personal information during socialization has led to a heightened awareness of privacy and security matters, not only for adults, but for children. The issue of Internet privacy has moved beyond concerns of individual consumer to the government agenda. In 2007, the Federal Trade Commission (2007) identified social networking and mobile Internet as children’s online privacy issues. As a response, individuals, organizations, and government are taking measures to protect information that may jeopardize personal and professional integrity.

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