5. Children's privacy online: experimenting with boundaries within and beyond the family / sonia livingstone

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Children's privacy is restricted, socially and historically, mostly by their parents. They will strive to gain as much privacy as they can offline and online. The internet, as a new technology, is considered to be threatening, especialy by parents who are anxious about the possible bad influence of the new medium on their children. Therefore they will make efforts to restrict their privacy. Their privacy might be interrupted twice: by their parents and by online threats. The major threats online are dealing with the invasion to the children's privacy by commercial bodies who exploit the children's privacy and vulnerability and by pedophilic predators. This research aims to observe at what manner children keep their privacy from family members in the domestic area. It has been done with the collaboration of 30 american familes from different socio-economic levels. It combined observations and in-depth interviews - a qualitative research. It was found that online, in private spaces, children tend to: 1. express themselves in manners they would not dare offline (silly, rude or naughty behaviour). 2. experiment different identities (through a few different e-mail accounts and different "nicks" in chat-rooms or forums. 3. seek confidential advice on personal matters. 4. interact with different people whom they know or with strangers. 5. form online relationship with peers.

In an age of democratization of the private sphere, a restricted regulation of parents on their children might cause to a lack of trust in their relationship. Therefore it is suggested to balance between children's safety and privacy. This article seems to mix between the goal change approach and personal welfare outcome approach.

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