Youngsters attach less importance to security
Most people think that youngsters who have grown up with the internet are more savvy about using it than the older generation. It's as if they know instinctively what to do, and have no need of assistance. However, that theory doesn't stand up where internet security is concerned. Various studies indicate not only that youngsters attach less importance to security and privacy, but also that they do less to protect themselves on line.
72 per cent of young people not worried about getting hacked
A recent study by Yougov for Google found that 72 per cent of young people weren't worried about getting hacked. The researchers rightly questioned whether that confidence was justified. After all, young people are more likely to opt for the convenience of using the same password on several sites, for example, and most youngsters sometimes tell other people their passwords.
Over-65s lead the way in security awareness
Yougov's findings echo the results of our own research into trends in internet use, published in December last year. Our survey showed that the percentage of people who are concerned about internet security increases with age. Over-65s actually lead the way where security awareness is concerned.
Lack of awareness translates into lack of action
More worryingly, lack of awareness translates into lack of action: young internet users are significantly less likely to have antivirus software installed than their older counterparts. That looks dangerously complacent in an era when cybercrime is on the rise. Young people are also less serious about SSL. If they get a warning that a site's certificate isn't in order, less than a third will abort the visit. By contrast, 83 per cent of over-65s won't go ahead.
Prevention is better than cure
The two studies illustrate that the younger generation's reputation for being internet savvy isn't always backed up by fact when it comes to internet security. So, if you're a parent, it pays to talk to your children about staying safe on line. Prevention really is better than cure!