University of Oulu

Instagram use of Finnish teenagers : a qualitative inquiry concerning their privacy and sharing habits

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Author: Haipus, Juha1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Faculty of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering, Department of Information Processing Science, Information Processing Science
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.9 MB)
Pages: 59
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Oulu : J. Haipus, 2019
Publish Date: 2019-06-11
Thesis type: Master's thesis
Tutor: Hartikainen, Heidi
Reviewer: Kinnula, Marianne
Hartikainen, Heidi


Social media (or social networking sites, SNSs) has become a dominant part of the web and created new possibilities for people to share their thoughts and their lives with others. It’s also the primary choice for many for communication. Social media creates virtual social contexts which have enabled new forms of social lives and communication.

Instagram is one of the most popular SNSs. Instagram focuses primarily on photo and video sharing in an online social networking environment. Though all aged people engage in utilizing social media services, teens form a large number of these users and are noted for being in the forefront with new SNSs and with new functions in SNSs. Teens are avid social media users and they are active in organizing their social media content to match their needs.

This study focuses on teens’ Instagram habits and aims to find out why Finnish teens use Instagram, what they share in Instagram and what their privacy views are in Instagram. The present study was conducted as a qualitative research using a questionnaire and interviews. For both, the questionnaire and the interviews, ninth graders aged 15 and 16 from Oulun normaalikoulu -comprehensice school participated. For the questionnaire 21 students participated and for the interviews 5 students were interviewed.

The study revealed that teens use Instagram mostly to kill time and to see what their friends are doing. They are not sharing content frequently but instead like to scroll through content and engage in ‘liking’ and commenting on others’ posts. When they do share content they mostly share pictures of themselves and occasionally e.g. scenery or travel photos. Most of these teens are not settled for using just one Instagram profile but instead they like to maintain multiple profiles. They have different purposes for these profiles and they share different types of content for these profiles.

These teens are not concerned for their privacy in Instagram. They aren’t concerned who can see their content and what Instagram does with the content they share, concerning third parties etc. They do take actions with occurrences that they feel threaten their privacy, though these occurrences don’t happen often. Mostly these teens like to keep their profiles private and they aren’t keen on phishing for likes or followers.

These teens find Instagram somewhat outdated with some of its functions and in many occasions they favour newer SNSs, usually Snapchat.

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Copyright information: © Juha Haipus, 2019. This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.