As part of its â€œKeep America Safe Onlineâ€ campaign with television crime fighter and victim advocate John Walsh, CA, Inc. announced a survey finding a gap between online security awareness and safety precautions by teens, adults and seniors, with varying behaviors across regions.
Survey results showed that 57 percent of American adults fear their identity might be stolen online within the next two years, and 90 percent worry about the security of their personal information. In addition, 35 percent of teens leave their social networking profiles open to viewing by complete strangers.
Adult age was a major factor in terms of assessing the cybersecurity risk of online behavior. While the study found that older adults were the most concerned about the security of personal information while surfing the Internet in general, younger adults were more likely to worry about security while performing specific higher-risk activities. For example:
â€¢ Adults ages 30 to 39 were twice as likely to worry about surfing the Web in a public place than their counterparts in the 60-plus age category.
â€¢ Nearly half of respondents ages 18 to 29 were concerned about security while downloading software, as compared with just a third of adults ages 50-59.
CA survey statistics also revealed gender to be a significant determinant in the security fear factor:
â€¢ 42 percent of teenage boys claimed they do not set up privacy controls on their networking profiles, leaving them open to the prying eyes of strangers.
â€¢ Nearly three quarters of teenage girls said they post personal pictures online.
â€¢ Boys were also 13 percent less likely to verify the identity of an online contact than girls.
â€¢ In the adult category, 64 percent of women said they were concerned about security while shopping online as opposed to only 55 percent of men.
With 87 percent of teens on social networking sites, their social networking behaviors proved to be a huge vulnerability point as:
â€¢ 38 percent of teens post their education information.
â€¢ 32 percent disclose their email address.
â€¢ 28 percent reveal their birth date.
â€¢ 19 percent display their full name.
To help regulate these dangers, parents have taken the following precautionary measures:
â€¢ 91 percent of parents have spoken with their children about talking to strangers online.
â€¢ 88 percent have discussed the risks of visiting inappropriate sites.
â€¢ 85 percent of parents have reiterated the need to protect personal information on social networking sites, such as Facebook and MySpace.
More than one third of parents are taking a backseat to their childâ€™s online activities, and twice as many parents have communication software, such as instant messaging, installed on home computers as opposed to parental control software. Though many parents behave lackadaisically when it comes to monitoring their childâ€™s online safety, they have great concern for their own. Adults have taken steps to safeguard their computers and personal information including:
â€¢ The installation of anti-virus software (86 percent).
â€¢ Pop-up blocking software (81 percent).
â€¢ Anti-spyware programs (77 percent).
In terms of software to protect their own children, only 30 percent of parents have parental control software installed on home computers. Even worse, less than one third restrict access to their childâ€™s profile by controlling security features.
Originally posted on December 11, 2008 @ 1:09 pm