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Study has good news about kids’ online behavior

The headline of the press pitch read “McAfee to release shocking findings of teen’s online behavior,” but the actual data from the study, “Secret Life of Teens,” are far from shocking: McAfee’s study is actually a reassuring portrait of how most young people are exercising reasonable caution in their use of technology, writes technology blogger Larry Magid for CNET. The study, conducted by Harris Interactive, reported that “almost half of youth (46 percent) admit to having given out their personal information to someone they didn’t know over the internet,” but when they break it down, the survey reveals that “when they do reveal personal information online, youth are most likely to share their first name (36 percent), age (28 percent), and/or eMail address (19 percent).” Only around 1 in 10 have given out slightly more personal information, like a photo of themselves, their school name, last name, cell phone number, or a description of what they look like. “If anything, I’m surprised at how little personal information young people are posting online,” Magid writes. “The one statistic that I do find disturbing is that 37 percent of 10- to 12-year-olds are on Facebook, which not only violates the site’s policies, but requires the kids to lie about their age to get an account…”

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