Promise Not to Tell: a Child's Formation of Privacy Boundaries
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- children; privacy; communication privacy management; trust; disclosure; boundaries; Child Psychology
Children manage privacy on a regular basis. However, the current literature for understanding privacy and children has just scratched the surface, and there is a need for further exploration. Using Petronio's Communication Privacy Management, this study attempts to further articulate how children manage privacy. Using a qualitative approach, the researcher examined what motivates children to disclose private information and what qualities children seek in a confidant. This study used a semi-structured interview process using ten 7 to 9 year old participants, four male and six female, from a large after-school program in the Midwest. Results indicated that children are motivated to disclose private information and are able to assess the risk and reward associated with disclosure. Additionally, results indicated that children identified relationship type (parent-child), similarity, reciprocity, and trust as desirable traits for confidants. The findings in this study could assist educators and practitioners in understanding the reasons why children disclose private information and what makes a trustworthy confidant from the perspective of children.