National Clearinghouse on Homeless Youth and Families

Risky Disclosures on Facebook : The Effect of Having a Bad Experience on Online Behavior

Christofides, E.,
Muise, A.,
Desmarais, S.
Journal Article
Year Published: 2012
Sage Publications
Journal of Adolescent Research, 27(6):714–731, November 2012.
Research Contributions Program, Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada

While social network websites are widely used by adolescents, there are risks associated with disclosing in this environment as well as connecting with others online. Using data from a sample of 256 adolescent Facebook users, these authors explored the relationship between having a bad experience on Facebook, privacy knowledge, and disclosure behavior online. Reports of bad experiences on Facebook were categorized as bullying/meanness, unwanted contact, exposure/unintentional disclosure, and misunderstandings. Adolescents who reported having a bad experience were more likely to protect their privacy, and this relationship was mediated by knowledge of the privacy settings. Those who experienced negative consequences were more aware of the risks of online disclosure and how to protect themselves, which resulted in greater information control. The authors discuss the implications for educating adolescents about privacy and disclosure online. Modified Author Abstract.

Correspondence to: Emily Christofides, MSc, University of Guelph, 50 Stone Road East, Guelph, N1G 2W1, Ontario, Canada; Email:, Website:
Copyright Protected
Accession Number: