Passing the Torch: How Parental Privacy Concerns Affect Adolescent Self-Disclosure on Social Networking Sites

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Publication History

Received: March 10, 2020
Revised: March 5, 2021; November 27, 2021; June 20, 2022; November 19, 2022
Accepted: December 25, 2022
Published Online as Articles in Advance: November 30, 2023
Published Online in Issue: December 1, 2023 

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Drawing upon the literatures in information privacy, developmental psychology, and family science, this research investigates how parental online privacy concerns can be passed on to adolescents and affect their self-disclosure on social networking sites. We propose that parental privacy concerns decrease adolescents’ self-disclosure both directly (i.e., compliance) and indirectly through adolescents’ privacy concerns (i.e., internalization) and that such effects are moderated by parent-child privacy dissonance, parental internet evaluative mediation, and adolescents’ gender. To test the research model, we collected matched parent-child data from 726 families in China. The results show the indirect effect of parental privacy concerns on adolescents’ self-disclosure via their influence on adolescents’ privacy concerns. In addition, parent-child privacy dissonance weakens the effect of adolescents’ privacy concerns on self-disclosure. The extent to which parents employ internet evaluative mediation to guide adolescents’ online activities reinforces the effect of parental privacy concerns on adolescents’ privacy concerns. Statistical analyses further revealed that the mediating effect of adolescents’ privacy concerns is weakened by parent-child privacy dissonance but strengthened by internet evaluative mediation. We also found that parental privacy concerns affect sons and daughters through different paths, especially when parents employ high internet evaluative mediation. Under high internet evaluative mediation, parental privacy concerns affect sons’ self-disclosure primarily through an indirect path (via sons’ privacy concerns), but influence daughters’ self-disclosure both directly and indirectly via daughters’ privacy concerns. We conclude by discussing theoretical contributions and practical implications.

Additional Details
Author Jingguo Wang, Meichen Dong, Zhiyong Yang, and Yuan Li
Year 2023
Volume 47
Issue 4
Keywords Information privacy, online privacy concerns, parental influence, internalization, compliance, adolescent self-disclosure, parental internet evaluative mediation, intergenerational transmission, parent-child privacy dissonance, social networking sites
Page Numbers 1585-1614
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