The majority of consumers of all ages across the world feel that people share too much about their personal thoughts and experiences online, with 71% of those 55 and older saying a return to more privacy is needed, and 62% of 35-54-year-olds and 57% of 18-34-year-olds agreeing, according to an Euro RSCG Worldwide study of more than 7,000 consumers in 19 countries. Concern that technology is robbing people of their privacy was relatively aligned across all age groups (between 54-57%), though some of that loss of privacy appears to be self-inflicted: among 18-34-year-olds, many regret having posted personal information (39%) or information about a friend or family member (35%) online. Similarly, around half worry that friends or family will share personal information online about them that they don’t want to be shared.
Youth Perceived Especially Careless Online
Data from Euro RSCG Worldwide’s “This Digital Life” indicates that a high proportion of global consumers worry about the privacy habits of Millennials. In fact, 61% of those aged over 55 worry about the impact digital technology and social media are having on young people, with 57% of 35-54-year-olds and 53% of 18-34-year-olds agreeing.
Additionally, roughly 4 in 5 of the 55+ group feel that young people today have no sense of personal privacy and are willing to post anything and everything about their lives online, a sentiment shared by 74% of those aged 35-54 and 66% of those aged 18-34.
Many Consumers Share Intimate Moments Online
There appears to be a solid basis for these privacy concerns. According to April 2012 survey results from Badoo, 39% of Americans have shared bad news, such as a death or divorce, on a social network. And although roughly one-quarter said that social networks have helped bolster their confidence and facilitate new friendships, almost half of the respondents believe they have to be more guarded with what they say online.
SocNets Have Good and Bad Effects
According to the Euro RSCG Worldwide study, roughly two-thirds of consumers feel that being online keeps them close to friends and family even when they live far away. 84% of the Americans responding to the Badoo survey feel the same way about social networking sites.
And yet, while a majority of 18-34-year-olds responding to the Euro RSCG Worldwide say that being on social media sites makes them better informed and is one of the main ways they stay connected with their friends, a significant 33% say that social networking makes them less satisfied with their own life, and that they are envious of the lives they see others leading. Perhaps they shouldn’t pay too much heed to others’ lives: 25% of the American respondents to the Badoo survey admitted exaggerating or lying about who they’ve met or what they’ve done on social networks.
- Only 36% of the Euro RSCG survey respondents aged over 55 said that social networking is one of the main ways they stay connected with their friends.
- 62% of the US respondents to the Badoo survey said they have shared good news, such as a pregnancy or engagement, online.
- Roughly one-quarter of the Badoo survey respondents believe they have missed a key moment or event in their life because they were too busy trying to capture and share it on a social networking site.
- About one-quarter have also accepted friend requests from people they aren’t really interested in or don’t even particularly like.
About the Data: The Euro RSCG Worldwide data is based on an online survey conducted by Market Probe International of 7,213 adults online in 19 countries: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Ireland, Mexico, the Netherlands, Poland, South Africa, the UK, and the US.
The Badoo data is from a survey of 2,000 Americans conducted in March and April 2012.