Privacy, in the ubiquity of the online world, has been a hot topic for the last few years. Big data, data access and analysis have been trending topics and key subjects in multiple seminars, featured articles and studies. The concept of a new Generation Gap has emerged in light of these developing privacy concerns.
Teens and Their Online Privacy Today
It would be all too easy to say teens and their parents are miles apart in their view of online privacy. In fact, a recent study by the Pew Internet & American Life Project and the Berkman Center for Internet & Society show the contrary. Child and parental views on privacy are actually closely aligned.
On the other hand, the world and our online behavior are changing. Compared to the 2006 version of this study, teens are sharing an increasing number of personal information and details on social and other online media:
- 91% post a photo of themselves, up from 79% in 2006
- 71% post the city or town where they live, up from 61%
- 53% post their email address, up from 29%
- 20% post their cell phone number, up from 2%
We see two main reasons why adolescents are displaying this behavior:
First is a neuropsychological one. Many scientific tests and studies have supported the inclination of teens towards “risky behavior”. Theirs is a different mindset compared to their teenage counterparts seven years ago because the Internet has become a more normal and integral part of everyday life.
Reason number two has a completely different origin. The study shows teenagers are highly confident in their ability to manage their privacy settings across all social and data driven media. It’s clear that this comfort zone is a key driver for not having second thoughts when posting, liking, sharing, etc.
Introducing the Generation Gap 4.0
Still the question remains how this online behavior of teens results in a new Generation Gap.
The access of third parties is the major difference between youth and adults. In the aforementioned survey, a staggering 81% of parents expressed a clear concern over advertisers’ access to information about their child’s online behavior. How is this so different from the views their children have?
When asked the same question, 60% of teens replied they are only slightly or not at all concerned with advertiser access to the information they share online beyond their knowledge or consent. There were even replies such as ‘I don’t believe that [Facebook] would do anything with my information.’ Maybe teens still see social media as the philanthropic and romantic hang out. This is a stark contrast to their parents’ mindsets, hence the Generation Gap.
Why Would We Call It a 4.0 Gap?
This data and privacy issue is hugely connected to ubiquity of the web. Where we talked about Web 1.0 and 2.0 in the past, new ways of thinking about the web are gaining momentum. Web 4.0 is about making connections, about serendipity and about the network taking initiative.
A very live example of what Web 4.0 would look like: I’m late for a dinner. My smartphone knows this (because it has my calendar, my location, and the traffic status). So, it tells me, and then it alerts the people who are waiting for me, without me taking any action.
Crazy future gimmicks, you say? Don’t forget… the world is changing.
A Belgian app builder living in NY just raised 1,7 million Euros for a Web 4.0 calendar app startup. Sunrise consolidates all your personal and professional meetings in one single calendar, whether they are coming from Facebook, LinkedIn, Outlook, Google Calendar or EventBrite. So when heading to a meeting, the app may push information on the person with whom you are meeting. Or even better, it lets you know if you need to leave earlier for the meeting if you want to get there on time, based on live traffic, weather and GPS data. And this is just one example.
As you see, web 4.0 is very near upon us.
Thus the 4.0 Privacy Paradigm and Generation Gap
This is the true paradigm on privacy. The older generations are shielding their privacy and personal information from the big bad online world. On the other hand, teens have grown up in this new, always connected online world. They are embracing its new possibilities and the privacy implications that come with it.
Yesterday the world changed. Today the world is changing.