School of Communication and the Arts


Doctor of Philosophy in Communication (PhD)


Tabitha Cassidy


Digital Privacy, Communication Privacy Management, Privacy Fatigue, Generation Z




Generation Z has grown up in a digital environment where their physical world is often merged with their digital world. Research has found that students often blindly accept social media terms and agreements because they feel they have no choice. Therefore, many students are often lacking in knowledge regarding privacy protection behavior on social media platforms. Some scholars argue that this creates a privacy paradox, while others argue it elicits privacy fatigue. In addition, there is little centralized regulation for online privacy, and privacy agreements vary by social media platform. The purpose of this study was to explore the variables of privacy fatigue, privacy concern, privacy control, and privacy management and their impact on Generation Z college students’ behavior within the framework of communication privacy management theory. A quantitative research method with a 7-point Likert-type survey was used to assess the attitudes of Generation Z college students between the ages of 18-25. The results found that privacy control and privacy concern were predictors of privacy fatigue. When students feel less control over their personal information online, their level of privacy fatigue increases. This study has theoretical implications within communication privacy management theory. The study also has practical implications for organizations and social media platforms that seek to encourage communication and interaction within their websites and apps.

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