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JIPS 2009 5.4 Article 2

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Prod. Code: JIPS2009-5.4Art2

Protecting Adolescents’ Personal Information Online: Constraints and Parameters

Deborah M. Gray, Central Michigan University, USA,
chubb1dm@cmich.edu.
Linda Christiansen, Indiana University Southeast, USA,
lchristi@ius.edu

ABSTRACT

Cable News Network recently reported that today’s children will spend an average of
23 years of their lifetime connected to the Internet. The Department of Education
reports that 100% of teens today have Internet access at school. Currently, no laws
protecting teens from the collection of their personal data (known or unknown) while
online exist. The personal information they post today can be collected today—or 20
years from now and can be used against them when they seek employment or apply
for health insurance. This study examines the issue of adolescent consumer privacy
protection from the perspective of those entities responsible for protecting and
educating them about safe Internet use (educators, marketers, and policy makers). An
analysis of transcripts from an expert panel (collected via telephone interview) is used
to determine who is responsible for protecting teens’ privacy and how to accomplish
this task.