Altman and Taylor's social penetration theory focused on self-disclosure as the primary way to develop close relationships. In 2002, she renamed it to communication privacy management, underscoring private disclosure is the main thrust of the theory.
Protecting personal information in online environments is vital to most individuals, including those in the three distinct age groups of children, adolescents and emerging adults.
As each group interacts online, they use different disclosure practices and protection mechanisms to manage and distribute their personal information.
(4) Co-owners of private information need to negotiate mutually agreeable privacy rules about telling others.
(5) When co-owners of private information don't effectively negotiate and follow mutually held privacy rules, boundary turbulence is the likely result. When Petronio first developed this theory in 1991, it was called communication boundary management.
Petronio favored the term "private information" over the term "self-disclosure" because there are many caveats inherent to private information disclosure that are not present with self-disclosure.
The decision to share is ultimately left up to the process of the privacy rule management system which combines rules for coordination of information, characteristics of disclosure, and attributes of the nature of boundaries.
After describing self-disclosure and communication privacy management theory (CPM), this chapter examines how privacy management strategies and self-disclosure practices in online environments differ between children, adolescents and emerging adults.
The chapter considers theoretical strengths and weaknesses of CPM and also explores the applicability of the tenets of CPM to online communication in self-disclosure.
To understand CPM theory it is important to follow the metaphor of the boundary.