Teenage girls are way more worried about apps tracking their locations than boys are

August 22, 2013
(Pew Charitable Trusts)
(Pew Research Center)

A new study by the Pew Research Center on the mobile app privacy behaviors of American teenagers revealed a gender gap in their approach to location tracking. A little less than half of all teenagers (47 percent) said they had disabled location tracking in the past. But while the likelihood that a teen apps user would disable location tracking features didn't vary significantly according to the parent’s income, education level or race and ethnicity, girls were significantly more likely than boys to disable such features.

This finding somewhat mirrors a trend shown in a MEF report on mobile users from earlier this year that showed that fewer women felt they had complete control over their personal information being used via mobile apps for advertising purposes than men. If users feel as if they already have less control over their data, it seems totally rational that they would be more likely to take actions to avoid further exposure -- like denying app requests for location tracking.

Correction: An earlier version of this post misidentified the study's author. It has been corrected.

Andrea Peterson covers technology policy for The Washington Post, with an emphasis on cybersecurity, consumer privacy, transparency, surveillance and open government.
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