Is Your Teen Sharing Too Much on Social Media?

By Brett Snider, Esq. on May 22, 2013 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Your average teen is on social media constantly, and according to a new study, she may be publicly sharing on Facebook and Twitter with little regard for the consequences.

At any instant, your child may be sharing her thoughts, her GPS location, and even her phone number to "friends" and followers, researchers at Harvard University found in a study conducted for the Pew Research Center.

But while teens may tend to share too much, they're also tweaking their social media habits just a bit, the study found.

Study: Increased Teen Tweeting

Researchers found that teens are increasingly migrating away from Facebook and toward Twitter. One of the reasons: Too many adults on Facebook, the Associated Press reports.

What may be particularly unnerving for parents is that more than half of teens on Twitter do not keep their tweets private, they broadcast their tweets publicly.

Even more worrying is that 9 out of 10 teens have posted a pic of themselves on a social media site, and 1 out of 5 teens publicly display their phone number on their profile.

Potential Risks

As we've blogged about many times before, sharing this much personal information publicly can be dangerous. Here are a few of the possible ramifications you may want to warn your teen about:

  • Check-ins can be a check-minus. Many teens on social media "check-in" when they have moved even slightly to a new location. You might want to check with your teen before she checks-in on your family vacation, however, because you may come home to an empty house. Even if your tweets and check-ins are only shared by friends, potential burglars are often friends with their victims, reports the Plano Star Courier.
  • Getting fired over a post. Almost every workplace today is decently social media savvy, and they are aware as much as your teen that Facebook and Twitter exist. A good way for your teen to lose her summer job or internship is to post something about her co-workers or customers on Facebook. Twitter is no different, and your teen may forget that even their private tweets hating on their workplace can be publicly retweeted.
  • Unauthorized use of their photos. Images shared on your teen's social media profile don't always stay on her profile. It's quite easy for Internet users to steal pictures posted online and use them for scams such as catfishing. In some cases, unwanted pictures shared via social media have even led to cyberbullying.

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