Teens will sell their personal information for cash, research finds

Teens would rather sell their personal information than work, according to a survey of teenagers in the U.K.

Teens will sell their personal information for cash, research finds
Credit: Ekko Audio

The equivalent of about $20, or the cost of a large pizza, is the amount of cash British kids would accept in exchange for handing over their personal information, a study has found.

IT solutions and managed service firm Logicalis found kids (aged 13-17) were “instinctively digital” and that they fully comprehended the value of their personal information. Not only were the young scoundrels completely au fait with how much their personally identifiable information (PII) was worth, they were quite happy to sell it—if it meant they didn’t have to work.

Logicalis found that almost half (42 percent) of the youngsters would sell personal information, as long as it resulted “in a better service or deal.”

Logicalis had been looking into differences between the pre-internet generation and “digital natives.” In other words, those who have been around digital since they were born.

Teens Able to Hack and Code

It surveyed 1,000 U.K. teens and found a growing number were able to hack and code.

One-in-14, or 7 percent, have tried hacking, Logicalis found. That equates nationally to one per classroom.

Eighteen percent there code. That number is more than double 2013’s figure of 7 percent.

“It’s essential we recognize the economic potential of these instinctively digital teenagers,” said Gerry Carroll, Logicalis’ U.K. marketing director and report author, in a press release.

But that’s despite the “alarming” statistics around “hacking and online behavior,” Carroll said.

As one might expect, insalubrious activities are prevalent. A little over half (54 percent) of female teenagers “are regularly reporting inappropriate online behavior, compared to a third (33 percent) of boys,” the study found (PDF).

Almost half (44 percent) of the entire group told the researchers they are “not surprised” to be told that their fellow teenagers are “responsible for hacking large corporations.”

“Nineteen percent have themselves been hacked” with 72 percent having an email account compromised, and 53% percent having a social network hacked.

Iffy activities aside, the researchers said the group of teens, who’s oldest members were born as the first smartphones were being introduced—the first Palm Treo was introduced in 2002—is fully embracing digital. All of them, in fact, haven’t known a world that wasn’t digital.

Although a majority said they are “hacking out of curiosity, it’s important we channel their skills to the benefit of society,” Carroll said. “The next decade will see an influx of employees whose capabilities will be light years ahead from our existing expectations of information and communication technology skills.”

According to Logicalis, this age group uses digital services nine hours a day and owns an average of 4.9 digital devices. Therefore, one could assume that they, of all people, know “instinctively” how digital should play out.

“From schools to business to U.K. government, organizations should be mapping their digital transformation and enablement, bringing the insights of the digitally literate into the strategy process,” the report said.

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