AVG: Seven in ten teens don't know all their 'friends' on Facebook

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Security firm AVG has published a new report looking at online privacy which shows the considerable amount of regret admitted by some teenagers when it comes to things they have posted online -- and the fact that seven in ten teens don’t know everyone they have befriended on social media.

The Digital Diaries research, which quizzed some 4,000 teenagers aged between 11 and 16 -- not that those under 13 are technically teenagers, but we’ll let that slide -- found that 28 percent of teens said they later regretted posting something online.

A third of teens had asked somebody to remove a piece of online content posted about them, either because they didn’t like it (in 61 percent of cases), or because it was overly personal (28 percent).

18 percent of those who had wanted content removed said that it was something that their mother posted.

Furthermore, 14 percent admitted that they’d been asked by someone else to remove content which they had shared on the web.

When it came to Facebook and privacy, while 70 percent claimed to be savvy enough to have changed their settings to make it more difficult for people to find their account, only 29 percent actually properly knew all their friends on social networks. Doubtless largely due to the fact that these things become a popularity contest, and you can’t be seen to have too few "friends"…

Finally, 38 percent were aware that a family member had looked at their device without permission, and 18 percent said someone in the family had found private details which they hadn’t wanted anyone else to see.

Emily Cherry, Head of Participation at the NSPCC, commented: "Young people obviously want to get the most out of social media by sharing information. But they should be aware that people are not always who they appear to be online and may pose a threat to them. If we don’t act now and help to guide them, in particular around contact with strangers, we could be facing a privacy time bomb. Online is as important to young people as eating. It is the most important part of their world throughout the day. If we don’t get this right, we will be failing to give them the vital protection they need".

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