Digital security and the generations

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The notion that only young people use the internet is long gone. The fact is that the online world has consumed all of us. We may not like it, but by all of us, we mean toddlers to seniors. And therefore, we should all consider ourselves the “digital generation.” But that does not mean we all perceive and use technology the same way. There are certainly tangible differences in how we interact with technology.

The younger a generation is, the sooner they are likely to have been introduced to technology. On the other hand, older generations may have become familiar with technology later in life, but combined with their life experiences, they might have approached technology use more responsibly. The approaches different generations take are undoubtedly different; some are earlier adopters of innovations, but one does not lag behind the other.

The Pew Research Center conducted research in 2021, measuring generations’ digital world use. For example, 99% of Gen Z and Millennials claim they use the internet. Gen X has a slightly lower usage, which still comes to 96%, compared to the Baby Boomers, where only 75% claim they use the internet. The study's exciting finding is that since 2000, the gap between the oldest and the youngest internet users has gotten smaller, from 56 to 44 percentage points. 

The data doesn’t lie, proving that all generations are part of the digital world. The difference is their involvement, perception and use. Generations look at technology and innovation based on their background and knowledge. And that differs among virtually all of them. Many came into a world full of technology, and others had to adapt to it at a more mature age.

And the same goes for digital security. Contrary to popular belief, growing up with technology does not automatically make you more conscious of digital privacy and security. Industry leader NTT’s study shows that people over 30 are more likely to adopt better security practices than the younger generation, Generation Z. Gen Z, even though they grew up surrounded by technology and the risks it poses, are much more laid back and responsible. They value flexibility and productivity over caution and responsibility. Furthermore, the study found that almost 40% of Millennials would opt to pay a ransom or already have produced one in the past.

To support that, let us present one more study. This time, LastPass studied people’s online behaviours regarding passwords. It revealed that people approach their digital safety and security differently from Baby Boomers to Gen Z. They found that despite being exposed to technology early, Gen Z is least concerned with their security. On the contrary, Millennials and Baby Boomers are most concerned about digital security.

Not only are the various generations’ use of technology and approaches to digital security different, but the threats awaiting them in the digital world also differ. Since they all act distinctly, they are vulnerable to different types of online safety threats. For example, for teenagers and young adults, currently Gen Z and Alpha, cyberbullying is one of the biggest threats. Older generations face financial abuse, identity theft and other security attacks. Their knowledge of the topic also varies, making them more or less vulnerable to digital threats. 

Kids age three use devices to watch videos, while our elders use them to stay connected to their families. And for everyone in between, whether it be a Millennial or a Baby Boomer, online behaviours are different, and it is evident that there are other digital security approaches. However, whether you are a security expert or a basic user, you may fall prey to malicious actors on the internet at any time without the proper protection and education.

It becomes evident that no one approach to digital security fits all. Whether it is one’s personal security, privacy and safety, or an approach taken by a business, the solution is not set. Personalised protection, however, is not always possible. Everyone’s needs are different, and to cater to all would be virtually impossible. Some people and businesses prefer to have somewhat more significant or less control over their protection, while others prefer not to be disturbed by it. Perhaps the most straightforward solution in situations like that is to have security that you don’t have to think about—a silent knight protecting your digital world at all times. 

One way for customers to procure that is when their Telco or ISP takes direct care of their protection, so they don’t even have to think about it. A solution like this can be incorporated into an ISP or Telco product offering, for example, ESET NetProtect. This security approach can give customers peace of mind, knowing their provider is taking care of their digital security on their behalf.

ESET NetProtect is easy to integrate and a great addition to a sales plan. Its reputation builds on its easy integration into existing Telco or ISP service offerings while delivering full-service protection against malware, loss of privacy and phishing on all personal devices. NetProtect makes safe and secure browsing a matter of course. This offering keeps devices and online browsing safe from suspicious domains and websites. It also has a filter that allows you to blocklist domains and content categories based on user preference.

And above all, this product runs on your device without worrying. Its user-friendly management with a range of settings ensures your overall satisfaction.  


To learn more about keeping kids safe online, visit Digital Matters - a free online interactive learning platform supporting schools as they teach the online safety curriculum and media literacy. It provides interactive lessons and dynamic storytelling on various topics- empowering teachers and parents to engage young people.