The work of Carlsson (2006) entitled: "Regulation, Awareness, Empowerment: Young People and Harmful Media Content in the Digital Age" relates that "Modern information technology has transformed the media landscape and the media culture dramatically over the past decade, offering a steadily swelling flow of material through many new channels." While media, digital and information divides still exist there are increasingly more individuals with access "to an enormous array of knowledge and diversions of many kinds - on television, on the Internet, and in mobile telephones. Many parents, teachers and policy-makers are concerned about the negative influence they believe media exert on children and young people." (Carlsson, 2006; p.1) Without today's media and information technology globalization would not have been possible. Carlsson states that: "Access to a variety of media, telephony and online services are increasingly recognized as vital factors for political, economic and cultural development." (2006) Carlsson further states: "Communications satellites, digitalization and advances in online services- especially the Internet - have mean an enormous expansion of the global market for media products such as television programs, films, news, computer games, and advertising. The categories information, entertainment and advertising are no longer clear-cut; neither are the bounds between hardware and software, and between product and distribution. In the midst of the global development of communication and media are children and youth." (Carlsson, 2006; p. 11) the traditional mass media society and an interactive media society have grown up together with young people around the world...already opted into it. These technological changes have made truly global flows of information possible, while they have also opened up transnational markets for global media companies." (p.11) Carlsson relates that both media production and distribution of products "is heavily concentrated with respect to both ownership and content." (2006; p.12) Carlsson notes that a "knowledge divide has been the topic of considerable attention and effort. It is not only a question of gaps between the north and south; the divide is reproduced within virtually every country and often reflects other gaps - those between income groups, ethnic groups and the sexes. A significant generational gap is involved. The younger generation today have a command of new media technologies that far surpasses the knowledge and skills the rest of us have managed to develop." (2006; p.12) Carlsson points out the very important fact that "Interactive media like the Internet also imply invitations to risky behavior in real life in connection with media use. Safety risks are much the same wherever we are: at school, at home, or at the cafe - or on the Internet." (2006; p.12) it has been long discussed as to what methods will "limit and prohibit the spread of harmful media content in relation to young people..." (Carlsson, 2006; p.12) Carlsson states: "Underlying this concept is the presumption that children are more impressionable, less critical and therefore more vulnerable than adults inasmuch as they have little experience and thus poorly developed frames of reference to guide their judgment. Therefore, it lies in the public interest to protect children from things like harmful media content until they have become more experienced and more mature." (2006; p.12) Raising the level of public understanding and awareness of media is required in the initiative toward protection of young people from harm resulting from interactive media. This understanding and awareness must extend to children and youth, parents and other adults in the environment of the children and to political decision-makers as well as media professionals. (Carlsson, 2006; paraphrased)
The work of Beebe, Asche, Harrison and Quinlan (2004) entitled; "Heightened Vulnerability and Increased-Risk Taking Among Adolescent Chat Room Users: Results from a Statewide School Survey" published in the Journal of Adolescent Health states that research was conducted for the purpose of profiling adolescent Internet chat room users "in terms of demographic characteristics, psychological and environmental factors, and behavioral risk factors." (Beebe, Asche, Harrison and Quinlan, 2004) the methodology in this study was of the nature that a study sample was "drawn from respondents to an anonymous statewide survey of 50,168 9th-grade public school students and included 40,376 students who reported Internet access at home and 19,511 who accessed chat rooms. Data were collected by the Minnesota Student Survey (MSS), a survey that has been administered triennially by the state's education department to public school students in grades 6, 9, and 12 since 1989. The MSS includes more than 117 questions (300 variables) addressing attitudinal, behavioral, and environmental issues. Data analysis consisted of comparing the odds of a particular characteristic or behavior for chat room users with that of nonusers. Analyses were run separately for boys and girls. The homogeneity of odd ratios was tested with the Breslow-Day statistic using SPSS for Windows." (Beebe, Asche, Harrison and Quinlan, 2004) Results of the study state: "For boys and girls, use of Internet chat rooms was associated with psychological distress, a difficult living environment, and a higher likelihood of risky behaviors. Although most chat room users did not report serious problems, this group included a disproportionate number of troubled individuals" (Beebe, Asche, Harrison and Quinlan, 2004) Conclusions of this study state: "Because chat room use serves as an indicator of heightened vulnerability and risk-taking, parents and others need to be aware of potential dangers posed by online contact between strangers and youth. " (Beebe, Asche, Harrison and Quinlan, 2004)
The work of Berson, and Berson entitled: "Challenging Online Behaviors of Youth Findings From a Comparative Analysis of Young People in the United States and New Zealand" published in the Social Science Computer Review states that: "Child-serving professionals have struggled to understand the often complex emotional and behavioral responses of children and youth who are immersed in interconnected environments and consumed by digital technologies. A comparative analysis on challenging online behaviors of adolescent girls in the United States and New Zealand was completed. Survey results confirm that when online, a significant number of adolescent girls are engaging in risky activities including disclosing personal information, sending personal photos to online acquaintances, and arranging face-to-face meetings. Many respondents continue potentially problematic offline practices as a result of these online interactions. The data also suggest that there is a lapse in preventative intervention to create and maintain awareness and safety for young people..." indicating that preparing youth in use of the Internet would be useful for online privacy and protection." (2005) Dangers of online privacy and security for adolescents is also noted in the work of Bay-Cheng (2001) entitled: "SexEd.com: Values and norms in Web-based sexuality education" states that "the sexual values and norms transmitted to adolescents through school-based sexuality education programs have been noted and critiqued by an interdisciplinary pool of researchers. With the increasing availability of the Internet to many American adolescents, the opportunities it provides for discreet and independent exploration, and the virtual lack of regulation of information provided by web sites, the Internet is emerging as a unique and critical site of sexuality education." (2001)
I. WHAT IS ONLINE PRIVACY?
The work of Louge (2006) entitled: 'Adolescents and the Internet" Established only a few decades ago, the Internet is a system of enormous technical and social complexity. It comprises a gigantic but almost invisible universe that includes thousands of networks, millions of computers, and billions of users across the world. Computer access and use among adolescents and other age brackets have grown exponentially over the past decade. More than 80% of American youth, ages 12 to 17, use the Internet, and nearly half log on daily. Although little research has been conducted on the effects of the Internet on various aspects of human development, the role of computers and the Internet as a means for socialization, education, information access, entertainment, shopping, and communication is increasing dramatically. Many adolescents reportedly prefer being online to other media, including the telephone, TV, and radio. Given that so many adolescents are spending so much time…