Teen bloggers at risk of cyberstalking
— found at Science Blog
A study of 68 randomly selected weblogs produced by teenagers aged 13 to 17 finds that teen bloggers often willingly reveal their actual names, age and offline locations, putting them at risk for cyberstalking and cyberbullying.
David Huffaker, a Northwestern University researcher working in the technology and social behavior program with Northwestern Professor Justine Cassell, will present his study findings within the context of other studies of teenage Internet behavior at the American Association for the Advancement of Science in St. Louis Sunday, Feb. 19.
In “Teen Blogs Exposed: The Private Lives of Teens Made Public,” Huffaker finds that half of all teenage bloggers link to other bloggers, and often include a “friends list.” Sixty-seven percent of teen bloggers provide a comment section in order to get feedback from readers of their blogs.
Seventy percent of the teens disclosed at least their first name, 67 percent revealed their age, and 61 percent provided their contact information either in the form of e-mail (44 percent), instant messenger name (44 percent) or a link to a personal home page (30 percent). Fifty-nine percent of those who provided contact information disclosed the city or state in which they reside.
On the positive side, blogs give teens an opportunity to share their stories and feelings. “They provide a venue in which they can reflect upon their experiences,” says Huffaker. “The ability to create a community online also bodes well for future social development.”