Are You Over The "Selfie" Culture? Is The US In Danger of a Social Shutdown? Why Aren't Americans Doing More To Digitally Protect Themselves?
MORE THAN HALF OF AMERICANS SAY IF THEY COULD START FRESH THEY WOULDN'T JOIN SOCIAL MEDIA AT ALL AND 75% MAY GO OFF THE GRID IF MAJOR DIGITAL SECURITY BREACHES CONTINUE
New USA Network Study Reveals That Despite Looming Fears of Hacking and Cyber Crime, Americans Won't Reboot Their Tech Habits But May Soon Abandon Social Media
New York, NY - June 23, 2015 - Could a generation born and bred on social media and synonymous with "selfie culture" be on the verge of a social shutdown? A new USA Network study found that more than half (55%) of young people say that if they could start fresh, they wouldn't join social media at all and 75% say they are somewhat likely (29%), likely (23%) or highly likely (23%) to deactivate their social media accounts if major digital security breaches continue.
And, Generation Y - the most digitally minded generation to date - is going retro, turning to paper files and storage boxes to lock down their data. Brown boxes (e.g. physical filing systems) are the new "black boxes" of data, cited by Gen Ys on a scale of 0 to 10 as more secure (6.54) than their online bank account (6.22), hard drive (6.20), personal computer (6.03) or online medical records (5.98). In fact, nearly twice as many young Americans store information in physical files/boxes (32%) than on the Cloud (19%).
Yet, in the wake of a constant stream of high profile hacks, why aren't fearful Americans doing more to protect themselves in this new digital world? 86% of 18 to 49 year olds agree that the next world-changing terrorist attack is likely to be a digital one, and that cyber warfare is a bigger threat in America today (53%) than physical warfare (47%). Perhaps even more terrifying than being on the verge of a digital meltdown, however, is that we're seemingly doing nothing to protect ourselves - nearly half of us (43%) say that our online passwords across platforms are "mostly the same or close variations of one another."
Surprisingly, parents are not doing much to protect their children from digital harm. While they engage in conversations with their kids about the "do's and don'ts" of social media - actions speak louder than words. Despite there being twice as many parents of teens (31%) questioning how much they really know about their teens' online life, compared to those who have questioned how much they know about their teen's sex life (19%) - the majority of parents of teens, who are arguably among the heaviest users of tech, have not purchased digital protection software for (76%) their children.
The feeling of inevitable destruction also tops survey respondents' list of looming catastrophes, with Americans being more fearful of online hacking (6.26/10) than natural disasters (5.68/10). In fact, a whopping 89% of Gen Xers and Ys agree with the statement "Data breaches are the new oil spills; they are as destructive to the world and as costly to clean up." Online hacking topped 18 to 49 year olds lists of what they feared most, more than violent crime (6.19), terrorism (6.09) or even death (5.04). Yet again, "Cyberapathy" seems to have become a virus itself, with86% of Gen Xers and Ys not using a password manager app and 77% admitting to never reading legal statements online before they "click to agree."
Not surprisingly, hacking is creating new economies and classes - some underground and some legit. Data dealers are the drug dealers of modern times, with 58% of respondents saying that the underground hacker market is more threatening than the illegal drug market (42%). But as hacking becomes more prevalent, there are emerging businesses like "Hackers list" and a growing offering of tech training courses. As parents eagerly race to sign teens up for summer coding camps, the "new Mandarin must have" for college hopefuls, the question becomes: are we training a new generation to take down the system?
Furthermore, the study also confirms that society feels controlled by civilian hackers - more so than by traditional corporate leaders. Fifty-four percent of Americans say civilian hackers have more power than the government, financial institutions or the "Big 5" (Google, Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, Amazon). According to Xers and Ys, 70% say "rogue hackers" are a bigger threat than the mob (30%) and two-thirds (67%) say they're a bigger threat than ex-convicts (33%).
However, despite a fear of "rogue hackers" - Americans would work with them to hack themselves. When given the opportunity, the top answer choice among Xers and Ys out of more than 25 possible hacks (ranging from an exes email to academic records to criminal files) was "My own bank account to erase my credit card debt."
Although the above may be construed as good hacking, there is an evolving gray area between "good hacking" and "bad hacking" - and just what content a person owns online. Eighty-two percent of Gen Xers and Ys believe the United States Constitution needs to be amended to include people's rights to online and digital privacy. This is a hot-button topic at a time when 88% of Americans agree "personal security and privacy no longer exist in the digital world." Furthermore, 78% are more concerned about digital privacy than they were just a year ago, and 68% feel that they have no choice but to make their personal information available online; otherwise they simple don't have access to the digital tools that have become standard.
"NATION UNDER A-HACK" was conducted in conjunction with the premiere of USA's new drama series, MR. ROBOT, premiering Wednesday, June 24 at 10/9c, which follows a young programmer who works as a cyber-security engineer by day and as a vigilante hacker by night.
About USA Network
USA Network, the leader in cable entertainment, offers a powerful stable of dramatic, comedic and unscripted originals in more than 102 million U.S. homes. The network also features spectacular live television, a dynamic portfolio of acquired series and the best in blockbuster theatrical films and entertainment events. A trailblazer in digital innovation and storytelling, USA is defining, driving and setting the industry standard for Social TV. USA is a program service of NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment, a division of NBCUniversal. USA's award-winning website is located at http://www.usanetwork.com.
Methodology:?A nationally representative online survey among 1,000 18 to 49 year olds conducted in May 2015, followed with focus groups in four markets across the country.