Gen Z and Millennials are less likely than older generations to practice online security habits

May 07, 2024, 2:59 AM GMT+0

New research from YouGov has found that Baby Boomers are the generation most likely to practice safe online security habits.

These security practices include avoiding clicking links or downloading attachments sent by unknown senders, not opening emails from unknown senders, and, when unsure, checking the authenticity of emails or messages you get directly with the contact.

93% of Baby Boomers said they would rarely, or never, download an attachment, or open a link when it is sent from an unknown sender.

This decreases by age with 84% of Gen X, 65% of Millennials, and 67% of Gen Z saying they wouldn’t look at a link or attachment sent from an unknown address.

84% of Baby Boomers said they would never (or rarely) even open an email if it came from an unknown sender.

This sentiment was shared by 67% of Gen X, 48% of Millennials and only 39% of Gen Z.

Baby Boomers were also the likeliest generation to mostly (or always) check directly with the sender when unsure of the authenticity of emails. 64% of the generation routinely practice this habit.

In this case, Gen Z were the second most likely with 60% checking directly with the sender when unsure, narrowly followed by Gen X at 59%.

Millennials (55%) were the least likely conduct this check.

Fumin Rianto, YouGov Associate Director said, “YouGov’s data has found that Baby Boomers are the most stringent in practicing secure online habits.

“This research has revealed that it’s actually Millennials and Gen Z who, although are digital natives, are the least likely to practice the proposed secure online behaviours.”

When asked who they thought should be responsible for providing education into financial matters, 34% of Baby Boomers thought that they, as a consumer, should educate themselves through reading relevant information or seeking out education opportunities. This was followed by 25% who thought that responsibility fell into the hands of banks and financial providers.

Comparatively, a third of Gen Z thought that this responsibility lay with educational institutions, at 32%. A quarter (26%) thought this should be the job of banks and financial providers, with a lesser 23% who believed this role lay with the consumer.

Similarly, 22% of Millennials thought the consumer should educate themselves. However, 23% thought financial institutions and 28% thought this lay with banks and financial providers.

This research was developed for a recent YouGov Financial Webinar. For more insights and to watch the webinar online, please visit our website.

Methodology: YouGov Surveys: Serviced provides quick survey results from nationally representative or targeted audiences in multiple markets. This study was conducted online between November 30 and 6th December 2023, with a national sample of 1,023 Australians, using a questionnaire designed by YouGov. Data figures have been weighted by age, gender, and location to be representative of all adults in Australia (18 years or older) as per the latest population estimates provided by the ABS. Learn more about YouGov Surveys: Serviced.