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To Share or Not to Share: How Youth Make Choices About Reputational and Data Privacy Online





Project Leader(s)

Jane Tallim, Co-Executive Director


Building on findings in their Young Canadians in a Wired World project, the researchers examined the reasoning that youth, ages 13 to 16, apply when they share photos of themselves or others electronically. Specifically, they explored whether, and how, their decisions to post photos are rooted in a desire to manage their reputation (i.e. reputational privacy) and whether or not they actively consent to the disclosure of their personal information within the context of the existing regulatory framework (i.e. data privacy).

As part of this project, 20 youth between the ages of 13-16 were asked to submit a maximum of three photos that they electronically shared each day for one full week, along with a photo diary for each image. The photo diaries included both logistical details, such as who took the photo and where it was posted, and their feelings about the photo, such as whether they felt comfortable sharing it with lots of people, a few people, or just wanted to keep it to themselves. Once this was completed, individual 1-1 ½ hour interviews were conducted with the youth to discuss each of the photos that were submitted, and to explore their practices and preferences around photo sharing in general.

Research design and analysis was performed in partnership with a multi-disciplinary team of experts, and research findings will be disseminated through articles to academic journals.

Project deliverables are available in the following language(s):



OPC Funded Project

This project received funding support through the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada’s Contributions Program. The opinions expressed in the summary and report(s) are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada. Summaries have been provided by the project authors. Please note that the projects appear in their language of origin.

Contact Information

Principal Researcher: Jane Tallim
205 Catherine Street, Suite 100
Ottawa, Ontario
K2P 1C3

Telephone: 613-224-7721 ext. 230

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