Posted by Anthony Salcito, Vice President of Worldwide Education (@anthonysalcito)
(Updated 9:55 a.m. PT)
One of the best parts of the typical “college experience” is the newfound freedom and independence. As students take advantage of this independence to form new relationships and communicate with people in new ways, it’s important that they are given the tools to help protect their privacy.
To get a better understanding of what privacy means to college students and what’s important to them when interacting online, Microsoft recently commissioned a survey, conducted online by Harris Interactive. The survey found the top two qualities students look for in an online account are privacy and security. Additionally, the survey revealed:
• Students engage in the following activities at least once a day: use their personal email (87%), use a school-provided email (64%), use social networking sites (85%). (Among those with respective accounts.)
• Over two-thirds (69%) of college students are unaware their online activity may be viewed by their school.
• Four in five (84%) students don’t believe their school should be able to view their other online activities outside their school-provided e-mail, such as social networking.
• The vast majority of students (90%) think it would be a violation of their privacy if their school asks for the password to their social networking accounts.
• Most students (93%) don’t think their colleges should have access to their social networking usernames and passwords, and the majority (59%) would support a law banning schools from viewing social networking activities via school-provided e-mail services.
Microsoft knows privacy and security are important to our customers, and this survey suggests it is also a priority for students. By publishing this data, we hope to increase awareness of students’ concerns about their privacy and security, and ensure our offerings continue to meet the needs of students by providing balanced options that allow all of our customers, including students, to remain in control of their personal data.
About the Survey
This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of Microsoft from May 31-June 6, 2012 among 18-23 year-olds currently enrolled in a 2-or 4-year college or graduate school. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.