How Facebook, MediaSmarts Encourage Teens To ‘Think Before You Share’

ThinkBeforeYouShare650Contrary to popular belief, there is still a substantial teen population on Facebook, and the social network teamed up with Canadian nonprofit organization MediaSmarts on “Think Before You Share,” a guide and tip sheet aimed at helping Facebook’s younger users decide what to share or not share online.

Facebook said it will run ads on the social network to promote Think Before You Share to both teens and parents.

MediaSmarts Co-Executive Director Cathy Wing said Think Before You Share “gives youth the tools they need to share safely, wisely, and ethically,” and she added in a note on the Facebook Safety page:

For young people, more than anyone else, digital media is all about sharing: Whether it’s their thoughts, photos, or their latest favorite videos, almost all of the devices and platforms that youths use are designed to make it easy for them to share things with their friends. In MediaSmarts’ research with young people, we have looked carefully at the habits and attitudes youth have toward sharing things online, as well as their worries, bad experiences, and strategies for avoiding problems and fixing things when they go wrong.

One of the most interesting findings in recent research is that with the exception of online gaming, young people almost exclusively socialize online with people that they also know offline. That doesn’t mean that they’re not worried about their privacy: In fact, the youths we spoke to were very concerned about the things they posted online being seen by unintended audiences and acutely aware of the possibility that something meant for one friend might cause trouble if seen by another. They were also very conscious of the need to manage how they were portrayed in social media by other people, such as in revealing or embarrassing photos.

Readers: Do you think Think Before You Share will be a helpful resource?

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