Researchers from the Pennsylvania State University found that they were not really thinking at all while posting private pictures or information, or at least were not thinking like most adults do.What our model suggests is that teenagers do not think this way - they disclose and then evaluate the consequences."Adults often find this very difficult to understand and paradoxical because they are so used to considering possible risks of disclosing information online first and then taking the necessary precautions, based on those concerns," said Haiyan Jia, post-doctoral scholar in information sciences and technology.

When teenagers begin to struggle with privacy concerns, they often try to find possible protective actions to mitigate risk.Those remedies include seeking advice from adults, removing online information or going offline completely."A parent's first impulse may be to forbid internet or social media access, but completely avoiding risks may cause other problems," according to researchers, who presented their findings at the "computer-supported cooperative work and social computing" conference on March 17.

First, we cannot imagine a teenager growing up and avoiding the internet and online communications in this age."But there is also a danger that without taking on the minimum risks, teenagers will not have access to all the positive benefits the internet can provide, nor will they learn how to manage risk and how to safely navigate this online world," Jia said."It is a lot like learning to swim. You make sure they enter the water slowly and make sure they know how to swim before you let them swim on their own and in the deeper parts," the authors said.

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