Adults warn kids off social network sites, use them themselves — Pew Internet report on search and identity

The excellent Pew and Internet Life project has just released its latest report, "Digital Footprints: Online identity management and search in the age of transparency," filled with meaty data on the way that we're using the net to manage and create our identities. As danah boyd points out, one conclusion really stands out: grownups are much more likely to have a public social networking profile on sites like Facebook than kids are, and are incredibly sanguine about the possibility of having their identities breached through these services. As danah says, "In other words, adults (and presumably there are parents in this group) are telling teens to be careful online and restrict what information they put up there while they themselves are doing little to protect their own data."

Internet users are becoming more aware of their digital footprint; 47% have searched for information about themselves online, up from just 22% five years ago. However, few monitor their online presence with great regularity. Just 3% of self-searchers report that they make a regular habit of it and 74% have checked up on their digital footprints only once or twice.

Indeed, most internet users are not concerned about the amount of information available about them online, and most do not take steps to limit that information. Fully 60% of internet users say they are not worried about how much information is available about them online. Similarly, the majority of online adults (61%) do not feel compelled to limit the amount of information that can be found about them online.