There’s an unfortunate myth that persists when it comes to youth and privac (at least in my opinion, based on research and findings I've read). While it’s fashionable to make broad claims that “youth don’t care about privacy”, there are credible studies that have been conducted by reputable researchers that show that youth do indeed care about privacy. Such findings do not mean that youth do not make the same careless mistakes that we all do and it's not too difficult to find examples of people, young and old, making a mistake when it comes to the use of social media or participating in social network sites such as Facebook, Twitter, etc.
If we take the "oops" examples aside, what I've summarized is that there are
A lack of media literacies (e.g., skills, competencies) when it comes to using social media
A lack of awareness of the affordances offered by a social network site to limit one's "publicness" (e.g., not knowing that privacy controls are available)
A result of actions (or inactions) taken by the provider of the social network site (e.g., provider changes lack notice and consent encouraging the revealing of information not meant for a broad audience)
Actions taken by a trusted connection to make information "more public" than was originally intended (e.g., a friend tags you in a photo or checks you into a location)
My respectful disagreement with studies proclaiming "youth don't care" is that they promote a certain stereotype and often infer that people knowingly place themselves out there for everyone to see (a typical "Gen Y" caricature) - that there's a willful intent. Studies I've reviewed come to a different conclusion and that has been by position for some time now.
There are of course always examples of people behaving badly, purposefully disregarding policies or intentionally acting in ways that avoids expected behaviors – but generalizing that into a trend is a leap of faith that I have not seen supported enough in research. Surveys alone are often not deep enough and often reach superficial results depending on the way questions are phrased and who participates.
For your reference, I’ve read several studies that I rely on to support this line of reasoning re: youth do care about privacy but are not always private for reasons other than "intent":
A recent Pew Research study on Reputation Management and Social Media:
Doing What You're Passionate About
Tue, Oct 30th 2012 10:16a Mike Gotta If you’re lucky, there is some aspect of your professional
life that your passionate about – something that sparks your intellectual
curiosity, something that compels you to advocate for something or someone –
something that actually inspires you.
While I’ve truly enjoyed my last two years working at Cisco,
I could never quite shake the sense that my passion, as described here, was
best found by being in an inter-disciplinary role that combined different types
of research (related [read] Keywords: collaboration
Can Ethnography Save Enterprise Social Networking
Thu, Sep 20th 2012 11:09a Mike Gotta To read the full article: Can Ethnography Save Enterprise Social Networking (guest blog post on Ethnography Matters)
Editor’s note: Enterprise software systems. Sounds a bit boring and inhuman. But they’re not! This month, Mike Gotta from Cisco Systems, makes the case for bringing the human back into enterprise software design and development, starting out with enterprise social networking (ESN). Recently, Cisco’s collaboration blog featured an essay by Mike Gotta, Design [read] Keywords: collaboration
Abstract: Social Capital (Key Ideas)
Sat, Dec 31st 2011 1:11p Mike Gotta Field, J. (2008). Social Capital (2nd ed.). Routledge.
John Field is Director of the Division of Academic Innovation and Continuing Education at the University of Stirling. His book, Social Capital, is part of a complimentary collection of essays to the series, Key Sociologists. The author continues to focus on the topic of social capital as it apples to lifelong learning. In this publication, Field adopts a social networking centric view of social capital. The connections people es [read] Keywords: collaboration