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Teenagers struggle with privacy, security issues

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High-schools students have a message for their parents: Trust us with technology. Security and privacy? We have it covered.

A panel of teenagers speaking at the Computers, Freedom and Privacy Conference told attendees on Friday that they are far more in tune with technology than their parents and have come to understand the issues of security and privacy on the Internet largely without any guidance from educators or their parents.

"We don't go over Internet security, we don't go after 'Watch out for that, because your identity can be stolen,'" said Elizabeth, a 16-year-old junior at Seattle Prepatory School. "I don't know that a school should be giving courses in computer ethics, but they should talk about computer security. If you are going to have a computer in the classroom, talk to kids about -- hey, you might see an adult site, that there are Internet predators out there, they exist, you kids need to be careful -- you know, give them the basic education."

The panel of five teenagers described the benefits of growing up in the Internet Age as well as how they deal with the dangers. Because the teenagers are all minors, their last names will not be used.

The group said that they had to learn about many of the pitfalls on the Internet on their own. Parents and schools tended not to know how to address the subject of security and privacy on the Internet.

"Every kid, when they reach a certain age, have The Talk with their parents," said Steven, a 16-year-old junior at Sammanish High School. "We need to have the same sort of discussion in terms privacy. The majority of teenagers know about the sexual diseases out there because of this conversation that they have with their parents or because of they have the talk in the school in sex ed. I think (security) needs to be addressed the same as well."

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