Study: Students do care about Facebook privacy

Frequent Facebook users are more likely to change their privacy settings.
Frequent Facebook users are more likely to change their privacy settings.

A close look at college students’ reaction to Facebook privacy policies revealed concern about online identities as news outlets pushed the issue to the forefront with increasing coverage in 2009 and 2010, according to a report released this month.

Eszter Hargittai, an associate professor at Northwestern University’s communication studies department, and Danah Boyd, a researcher for Microsoft Research and a fellow at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society, found that most Facebook members altered their privacy settings in the past year while privacy advocates railed against gaps in the social media site’s identification security.

Hargittai and Boyd based their report on a survey of University of Illinois Chicago students conducted during the 2008-09 academic year and the 2009-10 school year. The researchers had a response rate of 45 percent among more than 1,000 students surveyed. The researchers’ report is published in the journal First Monday.…Read More

Broadband adoption slows down, but blacks catching up

The adoption of high-speed internet service in homes has slowed to a crawl this year after a decade of rapid growth, reports the Associated Press—and it looks as if broadband is going to be a tough sell for those who don’t already have it. The Pew Internet & American Life Project said 66 percent of U.S. adults now use broadband at home, up from 63 percent last year. The difference is not statistically significant. Leichtman Research Group issued a separate report that said cable TV and phone companies added a net 336,000 broadband subscribers in the April-June period, fewer than in any quarter in the last nine years. Of the adults Pew surveyed, 53 percent said they didn’t believe the spreading of affordable broadband access should be a major government priority. That fits in with previous Pew surveys, which have shown that most people who don’t have internet service at home just aren’t interested in it, particularly if they’re over the age of 64. A minority don’t have it because it’s too expensive or not available at all. The Federal Communications Commission’s national broadband plan, released in March, found that 14 million to 24 million Americans do not have access to broadband. The plan, mandated by last year’s stimulus bill, lays out a roadmap for bringing high-speed connections to all Americans. FCC spokeswoman Jen Howard said the Pew report confirms there are still too many barriers to broadband adoption. The agency’s plan includes “digital literacy” initiatives to educate people about the ways that broadband can improve their lives. The Pew survey found one group that has signed up for broadband at a rapid pace in the past year: blacks. Last year, 46 percent of them used broadband at home. This year, the figure was 56 percent, meaning they’re closing the gap with Americans at large, but there’s still room for further gains…

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Teens’ social media use on the rise, but fewer are blogging

The use of mobile devices has led to shorter forms of communication among youth.
The use of mobile devices has led to shorter forms of communication among youth.

The use of social-networking web sites among young Americans continues to climb, with nearly three-fourths of American teens now using these sites. But fewer teens and young adults are blogging now than four years ago, and the number of those who use Twitter is still very low.

These are among the findings of a new study from the Pew Internet & American Life Project, called “Social Media & Mobile Internet Use Among Teens and Young Adults.” Released Feb. 3, the study reveals new trends with implications for schools.

The study found that young people are losing interest in long-form blogging, as their communication habits have become increasingly brief and mobile. Technology experts say it doesn’t mean blogging is going away. Instead, they say, it has gone the way of the telephone and eMail—still useful, just not trendy.…Read More