Tsk, tsk: Parents crave the popularity stamp as much as their kids on Facebook, and are just as willing to let slip personal information in order to attain such social status.
That’s the upshot of a new Social Psychology and Personality Science study.
Parents reveal more about themselves on Facebook than they might in other social settings, yet are less aware than their children of the consequences of online over-share.
University of Guelph researchers compared the online behavior of 285 adults, ages 19 to 71, to that of 288 youth, ages nine to 18, and found that the latter revealed more information on Facebook – but only because they spend more time on the social network — an average 55 minutes daily for teens compared to 38 minutes daily for adults. The more time spent on Facebook, the more personal information shared, no matter what age.
The amount of personal information disclosed depended on two factors: first, the awareness of info-share consequences; and second, how great the desire was to be popular (or seen as such). The larger the lack of awareness and the bigger the need for acceptance, the more information dumped onto the social network.
Thus, popularity and disclosure are linked on Facebook, concluded researchers. Sharing is rewarded – the more photos and stories and information posted, the more engagement and popularity attained.
Researcher Emily Christofides said in a press release:
Facebook is an environment that encourages people to share personal information. People with a high need for popularity may indeed care about their privacy, but they may not be willing to sacrifice their popularity by implementing privacy controls.
The spell’s been cast for young and old alike. Could this spell danger up ahead?