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Online Privacy
Youth Radio's Malachi Segers wants to limit the personal information he shares online.

By Malachi Segers

Facebook says you've got to be at least 13 to sign up, yet there are millions of underage users, giving away their personal information without a second thought. And social media is just the tip of the iceberg.

I've always been more careful than my peers about what information I share, whether on my computer or my phone. I even installed a browser add-on that shows me exactly what sites are tracking my every click.

When I visit my favorite game website for example, my tracking tool lists 16 other websites that start following me. So you can see why the Federal Trade Commission wants to pass tough new laws to protect kids' privacy.

It's my opinion it should be up to kids and their parents to decide how much they disclose online.

Groups like Common Sense Media tell parents to set rules about what kids post.

I think teenagers should not only watch what they post, but also pay attention to who's looking at what they post. Some students have reportedly lost their scholarships for offensive tweets. And dozens of teens have even been arrested for posting threats on Facebook.

In my family, our policy is to be as private as possible. I take that value seriously -- even my closest friends don't know most details about my life.

They don't even know that I'm doing this -- right now -- on the radio. I want strangers to know even less.

My Twitter handle isn't even connected to my real name. You would only know it's me if I told you so. On Facebook, I never accept requests from people I don't know, and my privacy settings are pretty stringent. You can't see what I post unless you're my friend.

Many of my peers accept every Facebook friend request they get, and others have an informal policy of accepting anyone they think is "cute." I've even seen some of my classmates post their phone numbers online.

I know that in 2013 you need a web presence to be successful or even considered normal. Most jobs and colleges these days will check to see what kind of person you are.

There's no clear formula, but I say, think twice, click once.

With a Perspective, I'm Malachi Segers.

Malachi Segers is a 17-year-old high school student in Oakland and he doesn't want you to know any more than that.  His Perspective was produced by Youth Radio.

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