Younger Canadians display the riskiest online behaviour

By Lynn Hargrove on June 26, 2012
With the arrival of the Internet and a multitude of connected devices, it can be challenging to protect children against the serious dangers that lurk online.

For parents, this means learning about the programs and services our children are using and learning more about the different threats they face, both from strangers and their peers.

Norton Canada recently released a survey about Canadians perceptions and buying habits when it comes to security software. The survey also looked at how cybercrime is affecting them. While the survey didn’t poll Canadian children, it did look at the online behaviour of Millennials – 18- to 31-year-olds – and the results may surprise you.

Younger Canadians tend to exhibit the riskiest online behaviour. In fact, 62 per cent of Millenials are most likely to rely on freeware, which can be a fake antivirus masked as legitimate software, to protect their computers. they believe that being careful online is enough to protect them from falling victim to a cybercrime (44 per cent) and only 22 per cent think their smartphone needs security software.

As a result, 18 to 31-year-olds fell victim to a cybercrime more often than older Canadians, like malware (92 per cent), social networking cybercrimes (70 per cent) and identity theft (34 per cent). Of even greater concern is that 34 per cent have experienced online harassment and 14 per cent have been approached online by sexual predators.

One of the most interesting survey findings had to do with how Canadians value their digital privacy. While nearly two-thirds (68 per cent) of adults would not accept $1 million in exchange for allowing strangers full access to their computers, 49 per cent of Millennials would take the money.

Younger Canadians – including our children – are growing up with technology and are quite savvy when it comes to using the Internet. But they also have more to lose if they engage in riskier online behaviours or fall victim to a cybercrime.

Their digital footprints are everywhere, and a negative online reputation or compromised identity can impact their admission to a college or university, their chances of landing a potential job and even their credit history. Parents must teach their kids to engage in safe online behaviours and arm them with the best online safety tools.

Courtesy of Lynn Hargrove, Director of Consumer Solutions for Symantec Canada

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