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New Media Lab present at European Conference on e-Learning, 7 Nov 2008

Georgina Shitta presented the article 'How much Personal and Sensitive Information do Cypriot Teenagers Reveal in Facebook?'


Web-based social networks are becoming increasingly popular over the past few years. With over 60 million active users worldwide, Facebook has become a major meeting portal for people of all ages, especially teenagers. This network offers attractive means for communication and interaction, but also raises security and privacy concerns.

Studies that investigate whether young people are aware of what type of personal data they disclose in social networking environments revealed not only a high level of concern but also a high level of ignorance. Major concerns revolve around the possibility of sexual predators and pedophiles finding and then assaulting adolescents who carelessly or unwittingly reveal identifiable information on their personal profile pages. Nevertheless, privacy concerned individuals join networks and reveal a great amount of personal information. For example, although members are concerned about privacy issues in Facebook they are willing to share identifying information and develop new relationships where the perceived privacy level is weak. Moreover, only a minimal percentage of users change the highly permeable privacy preferences. However, currently no research is available concerning numbers, behavior, and perceptions of young Cypriot people using Facebook. In the context of the European safer Internet project "EU Kids Online," this study

explored how the youth of Cyprus use social networking sites, on the example of Facebook. We evaluated the amount of information youngsters disclose and we studied their usage of the site's privacy settings. We sought to empirically ascertain the types of information Cypriot youth are publicly posting through an extensive content analysis of randomly selected Facebook profile pages. For each member, various types of disclosed personal

and sensitive information were analyzed, for example name, gender, profile picture, and contact information. Other parameters involve quantification of activities published, such as number of personal photos uploaded, membership in groups etc. Preliminary results show that Cypriot Facebook youth members are also willing to share personal information as the majority of the participants published their full name, gender, birthday and hometown. In addition, Cypriot youth actively use Facebook and its possibilities with activities such as joining groups, supporting causes, and using applications. Surprisingly, Cypriots are less likely to disclose contact details.


Taraszow, T., Arsoy, A., Shitta, G., & Laouris, Y. (2008, Nov). How much Personal and Sensitive Information do Cypriot Teenagers reveal in Facebook? Proceedings of the 7th European Conference on E-Learning, Ayia Napa, Cyprus.

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