Send to

Choose Destination
J Adolesc Health. 2014 Sep;55(3):347-51. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2014.03.005. Epub 2014 May 10.

Young adult females' views regarding online privacy protection at two time points.

Author information

Seattle Children's Research Institute, Seattle, Washington; Department of Pediatrics, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington. Electronic address:
Department of Pediatrics, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin.
Department of Pediatrics, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, Rochester, Minnesota.



Risks associated with adolescent Internet use include exposure to inappropriate information and privacy violations. Privacy expectations and policies have changed over time. Recent Facebook security setting changes heighten these risks. The purpose of this study was to investigate views and experiences with Internet safety and privacy protection among older adolescent females at two time points, in 2009 and 2012.


Two waves of focus groups were conducted, one in 2009 and the other in 2012. During these focus groups, female university students discussed Internet safety risks and strategies and privacy protection. All focus groups were audio recorded and manually transcribed. Qualitative analysis was conducted at the end of each wave and then reviewed and combined in a separate analysis using the constant comparative method.


A total of 48 females participated across the two waves. The themes included (1) abundant urban myths, such as the ability for companies to access private information; (2) the importance of filtering one's displayed information; and (3) maintaining age limits on social media access to avoid younger teens' presence on Facebook.


The findings present a complex picture of how adolescents view privacy protection and online safety. Older adolescents may be valuable partners in promoting safe and age-appropriate Internet use for younger teens in the changing landscape of privacy.


Adolescent health; College students; Facebook; Focus groups; Online safety; Privacy protection; Qualitative analysis; Social media

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center