Helping Youth Navigate Privacy Protection: Developing and Testing the Children's Online Privacy Scale

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Journal of Public Policy & Marketing

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DOI: 10.1177/07439156231165250


As children’s and teens’ internet use has reached record highs, the protection of their online privacy is a pressing issue for parents, consumer groups, social media firms, and federal, state, and international agencies. Even with strategies to help children protect their personal information, questions remain as to what children really know about the risks of interacting online. Thus far, much of the online privacy research has relied on subjective measures of adult beliefs and attitudes, which may not be predictive of children's online privacy behaviors. To address these issues, the authors develop and test a children's online privacy scale tapping different content domains of objective knowledge about online privacy for children and young teens (age 6–15 years). From this conceptualization, evidence is offered in two pretests and four studies supporting the scale's structure, reliability, and validity and its relationships with online privacy education, age categories, personality traits, intent to share personal information online, and online privacy behaviors. Implications for child and young teen online privacy policy are offered.


Journal of Public Policy & Marketing, Vol. 42, No. 3 (July 2023): 223-241. DOI.