The Dangers of Facebook or Let’s Be Careful Out There

Hill Street Blues

  • Individuals with profiles on social networking websites have greater risk taking attitudes than those who do not.
  • Greater risk taking attitudes exist among men than women.
  • Facebook has a greater sense of trust than MySpace.
  • General privacy concerns and identity information disclosure concerns are of greater concern to women than men.
  • Greater percentages of men than women display their phone numbers and home addresses on social networking websites
  • A new University of Georgia study suggests that online social networking sites such as Facebook might be useful tools for detecting whether someone is a narcissist.

To start with the last observation, you can read about this research and an interview with the researchers on Facebook profiles can be used to detect narcissism

The researchers, whose results appear in the October issue of the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, gave personality questionnaires to nearly 130 Facebook users, analyzed the content of the pages and had untrained strangers view the pages and rate their impression of the owner’s narcissism.
The researchers found that the number of Facebook friends and wallposts that individuals have on their profile pages correlates with narcissism.

The other results are from a study were they compared college students whether one’s sense of risk taking is related to use of social networking websites. They also analyzed differences between men and women. They also compared two popular social networking websites: Facebook and MySpace regarding trust from it’s users.Lastly, they also compared men and women with regard to a number of behaviors relevant to privacy concerns that are done on social networking websites.

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Participants were 205 students from a 4-year undergraduate
commuter inner city college.

We have to learn these young adults how to protect their privacy and the risks by disclosing their address and telephone numbers. Especially since this research shows that those young adults disclosing all this information are greater risk takers. They are prone to ill judgment.

Or to phrase Sgt. Phil Esterhaus from Hill Street Blues: Let’s…..Be Careful Out There.

They are taking a great risk by disclosing the information so I agree with the conclusion of the researchers:

Based upon our results, we recommend that health care professionals, psychologists, communication professionals, and consumer advocacy groups advocate that sponsoring companies of social networking websites mention that risk taking behavior and privacy concerns are potentially relevant and important concerns at the sign-up period before individuals are allowed to create a social networking profile.

What do you think? Let me know in the comments.
J FOGEL, E NEHMAD (2008). Internet social network communities: Risk taking, trust, and privacy concerns Computers in Human Behavior DOI: 10.1016/j.chb.2008.08.006