How Does Gen Z Stack Up Against Cybersecurity Best Practices?

July 14, 2023

Introduction

There are more than 2B of them around the world.

They’ll make up nearly a third of the workforce by 2030.

Most of them have had access to the internet since before they could talk.

We’re talking about Generation Z, which comprises people born between 1997 and 2012.

How Does Gen Z Handle Tech?

Because they were born smack in the middle of the digital boon, Gen Z has grown up alongside advancing technology. As a result, they tend to have a heightened awareness of privacy and data security issues. They are often more cautious about sharing personal information online and are concerned about the potential misuse of their data. These are concerns they’ve been dealing with their whole lives.

On the other hand, their submersion in technology since birth also creates some apathy and jadedness about how much of their data is really “private.” Consider the advice given out ad infinitum in the early 2000s: “Don’t post any real information online!” Now, family vlogs capitalize on every new life stage their children reach, and TikTok is awash with strangers giving out their full name and showing their daily walk around their neighborhood.

The Growing Concern for Privacy

A 2020 study by the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) found that 74% of Gen Z actively manages their social media privacy settings, compared to 66% of millennials (Gen Y) and 56% of Generation X.

61% of Gen Z respondents reported regularly using security tools like two-factor authentication (2FA) to protect their online accounts. This was higher than any other age group surveyed.

This generation is often considered tech-savvy, and they tend to be early adopters of new digital platforms and technologies. While this can provide them with opportunities for innovation and learning, it also means they face new and evolving cybersecurity threats as they explore the digital landscape.

Despite their familiarity with technology, many Gen Z individuals may have limited awareness of cybersecurity best practices and the real threats they face.

Areas That Need More Focus

Just like everyone else that regularly goes online, Gen Z spends tons of time on their favorite social media platforms. Even with how tech-savvy this generation tends to be, it’s very common for them to experience higher levels of cyberbullying and online harassment because it’s difficult to avoid even with cybersecurity knowledge. These experiences can impact online behavior, emotions and real-life actions, and generally highlight the importance of data security, privacy and being a responsible citizen of the world wide web.

Oversharing personal information can have long-term implications, for everything from your physical safety to identity theft. Think twice before sharing passwords with your friends or significant other, follow your gut when you see a suspicious message, and be careful not to let a fast-paced, confident online lifestyle run you into trouble. Don’t impulsively click or download links before considering the risks!

Conclusion

There are 4.9B active internet users in the world. If you’re reading this blog, that means you’re one of them. Protecting our kids, friends and colleagues means fostering and reflecting cybersecurity best practices every day. It’s possible to utilize the many great qualities of the internet without risking our digital and physical safety.

Although this article focuses on Gen Z, we can all use the security awareness knowledge and reminders to be safer online citizens!

References

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