Screen time may have gone up across the population manifold since the covid-19 pandemic, but it has also increased people’s concern about online safety and privacy. Fake news, data collected by third parties, and virus attacks seem to be top issues plaguing online users across all age groups, a global citizenship trend report has found.
The study, conducted by global digital security and privacy organisation Avast along with YouGov and Forsa across age groups of online users, highlights that over half of the younger generation (18-24 years old) was extremely wary of accessing public Wi-Fi, creating online accounts asking for personal details, downloading certain files and content, or engaging in social media and online payment services. This concern was higher among women (62% compared to 55% men).
Besides being concerned about their own safety, a majority of the younger online users were worried about the online safety of their elderly relatives, especially grandparents (61%) using the internet, followed by parents (47%), fearing that the latter would be taken in by fake news or fall victim to fake websites. The study received participation from 16,147 online users from 17 countries.
The study also found that the confidence in using the internet continued to remain low among the older generation of digital users. Due to this negative sentiment, they spend less time online. This emphasized the correlation between the time spent online and online confidence.
As a result, the older age group (above 55 years) found certain simple tasks challenging, such as changing settings, remembering and recovering passwords, using emails and backing up files. While half the users admitted to seeking help from younger family members, about 75% of those who felt low confidence online felt like a burden when asking for help from others. Fortunately, the overall inter-generational confidence level was high in India, with confidence decreasing to only 66% in 65 and above age group.
“We cannot ignore the differences we see in this confidence dependent on demographics, and we need to keep older generations in mind when it comes to digital education. We as an industry need to be enablers for weaker digital citizens, and sharing online knowledge needs to be part of family conversations," said Jaya Baloo, chief information security officer at Avast.
Also Read | How I found and lost a friend on a dating app