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Internet Privacy Drives Alias Popularity

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Do you use your real name when registering for Internet sites? Getting online means exposing yourself to an ever-expanding diversity of threats. Concerned about privacy and the security of personal data, Internet users commonly use fake names and provide false information to protect themselves. Young people are more likely to do so than their older counterparts, according to the results of Intersperience’s Digital Futures Project, which studied the online habits and practices of 1,000 young people ages 8-18.

Looking to grow their businesses, online marketing strategists and managements are increasingly targeting individuals of younger and younger ages, and they’re placing more and more ads on websites and social media networks. “Despite its sign-up age being 13 years old, three out of ten 8-9 year olds are on Facebook, rising to nine out of ten 16-17 year olds,” Intersperience notes in a press release.

Tending to be more tech-savvy than older sections of the population, young Internet users are generally cognizant of the risks to their persons and privacy, and they take their own precautions.

According to the results of Intersperience’s Digital Futures Project survey, 61% of respondents said online privacy was important to them. Thirty-three percent of under-18s “worried about websites that ask for information that’s not needed and 23% worry that this information will be shared with someone else,” Intersperience researchers found.

Under-18 Internet users don’t expect their data to be tracked or shared, and “they modify their behavior and provide false information in order to protect themselves,” according to Digital Future Project researchers.

“I didn’t know that businesses use [Facebook]” and, if they do, “’putting statuses, or pictures and people liking that, but nothing further… that’s probably as far as interaction [should] go’ is a recurring sentiment amongst those surveyed,” they continued.

The trend toward supplying false information to companies online is growing, Intersperience found. “’I would rather be anonymous to people I don’t know’ is the common response of those surveyed.

“With the young more likely to lie than the old, in comparison only 8% of 45 year olds and over would provide untruthful details, Intersperience concludes that the privacy issue is going to get worse.”

 

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