Date of Award


Degree Type

Restricted to Claremont Colleges Dissertation

Degree Name

Information Systems and Technology, PhD


Center for Information Systems and Technology

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Tamir Bechor

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Lorne Olfman

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

June Hilton

Terms of Use & License Information

Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.

Rights Information

© 2020 Husam Lahza


Privacy Awareness, Privacy Concerns, Privacy Paradox, Self-Disclosure, Social Network Sites, Teenagers

Subject Categories

Computer Sciences


Teenagers in the United States spend much time socializing on Social Network Sites (SNS). As a result, many have exposed their privacy to some serious threats. Researchers tried to understand what factors could influence online self-disclosure behavior, and arguably, one of the most researched factors is ‘privacy concerns’. Many studies found discrepancies between reported privacy concerns and actual self-disclosure behavior, which created a privacy paradox. This research aims to provide an explanation of the privacy paradox. I argue that the privacy paradox is a result of measurement flaws, specifically previous measurements did not consider privacy control to capture the actual self-disclosure behavior which this study refers to as ‘privacy exposure’. This research answers the following questions: “1. What is the relationship amongst privacy concerns, privacy awareness, and gender on teenagers’ privacy exposure on SNS?”; “2. Does the privacy paradox exist when privacy exposure is used as a normalized measure of self-disclosure behavior on SNS?” In this context, privacy exposure is defined as the extent to which a participant is vulnerable for privacy invasion based on the visibility of the various personal information shared in SNS; it was measured by three different methods: information type, frequency, and accuracy. This study utilized a cross-sectional quantitative approach. Based on a review of the literature on online privacy and theories of communication and privacy management, an online survey was distributed to teenagers based in Claremont, California. Respondents were recruited using nonprobability snowball sampling and had to meet two conditions: their age had to be between 13 and 18 years old, and they had to have active accounts on either Snapchat or Facebook. Standard multiple regression analysis revealed that increased teenagers’ privacy concerns was associated with less privacy exposure on SNS. However, the result was significant only when privacy exposure was measured by information type and accuracy. This indicates that the claim in this study, which is that the privacy paradox is a result of measurement flaws, is fairly supported by the findings.