Privacy concerns, dead or misunderstood? The perceptions of privacy amongst the young and old

Wouter Steijn, Anton Vedder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


The concept of ‘privacy’ has become an important topic for academics and policy-makers. Ubiquitous computing and internet access raise new questions in relation to privacy in the virtual world, including individuals’ appreciation of privacy and how this can be safeguarded. This article contributes to the debate by reporting survey data relating to the attitudes of adolescents,
young adults and adults in the Netherlands in relation to privacy, freedom and security. This data aims at determining the appreciation of privacy amongst young and old. Data was collected through an online survey of 1,002 12 to 83 year-olds in 2012. The results show that adolescents are less concerned about their privacy than young adults and adults. However, all three age categories reported that privacy was a lesser concern than both freedom and security. The article presents important insights into the different attitudes towards privacy amongst the noted age groups, and therefore offers a commentary on their
online behaviour. As such, the analysis is relevant for those with responsibility for the governance of individual privacy on the Internet.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)299-311
Number of pages13
JournalInformation Polity
Issue number4
Publication statusUnpublished - 2015


  • privacy, data protection, regulation, EU, surveillance, ehealth, PIA
  • Adolescents
  • security
  • Freedom


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