This recent report from Pew Internet & American Life Project reviews How teens manage their online identities and personal information in the age of MySpace.
Some interesting findings:
1. Boys and girls have different views/behaviors on privacy
2. Half of all American online teens use a social network
3. Teens treat various types of personal information differently
This report is important because it is describing tomorrow’s college students. We need to understand students’ use and perceptions about technology. Our IT folks need understand this so that our technology infrastructure can continue to evolve at an appropriate pace. Our administrators need to understand this so that we can anticipate how to respond to issues related to privacy, and ethics, and the many other areas. Our faculty need to understand how students will expect these technologies and behaviors to translate into the classroom. Our Student Affairs folks need to understand how these behaviors will translate into behaviors outside the classroom. The list goes on, but the additional point is that we should be doing this collectively: having conversations across campus about the next generation of students that will be here soon.
(Side note: seems as if these “generations” come more and more quickly. The baby boomer generation is generally accepted as being post-WWII through the very early 1960s, where as “Generation X” and “Generation Y” and now the “Net Generation” have all followed in quick succession.)