Younger generations adopting social media have learned lessons from their older counterparts, and are acting smarter when it comes to privacy online.
25 to 30 year olds, the first generation to grow up with social media, have a tendency to put everything 'out there’ while today’s teenagers are more reserved, says Derek McAuley, Chief Innovation Officer for the Connected Digital Economy Catapult.
Speaking to The Information Daily at the Personal Information Economy 2014 conference in London, McAuley spoke of the constant and complex trade off between utility and privacy when people share personal data to get things done.
When a credit card user shares their location with the credit card company, he explained, it impacts on privacy and security – but not as much as carrying around a "bunch of cash".
The way social media can compromise personal security and privacy is well known from the Facebook generation who used the platform to broadcast information from their ‘walls’, but are now living with the consequences.
18 year olds have observed this and show different behaviours, typically not publishing on Facebook walls but instead using the platform for group instant messaging.
Some 14 year olds, meanwhile, are wondering "why use Facebook at all?", instead migrating to dedicated messaging services like Skype, WhatsApp and Snapchat.
"All of these things, by that demographic, are society learning these lessons", McAuley added.
"No amount of privacy advocates standing up and warning of the dangers stops society […] it needs to suffer some of these harms before it learns the lessons".
Therefore the release of private information through social media is not increasing relentlessly, he says.
"Younger generations are more sensitive to this and more sensible than we often give them credit for".