Warc Blog

US teens wary of app privacy

26 August 2013
WASHINGTON DC: Just over half of US teenagers have avoided downloading certain apps because of concerns about sharing their personal information, a study into youth use of mobile technology has found.

The survey from the Pew Research Center, conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International in 2012, also found that teen girls are far more likely than boys to say they have disabled location tracking features.

In the study of more than 800 teens aged 12 to 17, 51% said they avoided some apps due to privacy concerns – the same reason why 46% of all teens turned off location tracking features, including 59% of girl respondents and just 37% of boys.

In addition, 26% of teen apps users have uninstalled an app because they learned it was collecting personal information that they didn't want to share.

And those that sought advice about privacy management were considerably more likely to say they had disabled location tracking features.

Overall, 58% of US teens have downloaded an app to a mobile phone or tablet. Of the 82% who own at least one of these devices, 71% said they have downloaded an app, which is a higher proportion than the app-downloading activity of adults.

Boys emerged as the most active app downloaders to mobile devices at 79% compared to 62% of girls, but the activity did not vary significantly by age, ethnicity or parental education.

However, teens from wealthier households were more likely to download apps. 79% of those living in households with an income of $50k did this compared to 60% of those living in households earning less than $50k.

In other key findings, the survey found 78% of teens own a mobile phone and 23% have a tablet. Mobile phone ownership did not vary by gender, but girls were marginally more likely to own a tablet.

Data sourced from Pew Research Center; additional content by Warc staff

 
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