That would be you…you’re an internet junkie. That is if you’re a baby boomer. According to a recent McAfee study Americans age 50 and older are online an average of five hours per day. What the hell are we doing online for five hours? Facebooking and tweeting most likely. The study indicates that 80% of the survey respondents were using social media and 36% logged in to their social media sites on a daily basis.
The scariest stat is that 75% of the respondents did not know that social networking makes them vulnerable to identity theft and fraud. DUH! Double DUH! We’ve been oversharing since we were babies, so why would we stop now?
Now stop and think a moment. Why did McAfee commission this study? Remember, this is a company that sells anti-virus software and it’s owned by Intel. The survey found that 57% of the respondents shared or posted personal information online, and that excludes the normal info you supply when shopping online. And when they tell you that 24% of respondents have sent personal or intimate messages on their mobile devices, but a third have no password protection on them, what they are also doing is hyping the need for us to buy their antivirus protection products.
Hey, we may be internet junkies but we can see through the haze when someone tries to scare us into buying their products. Oh sure, they give you some tips on protecting yourself like not giving out your address, phone number or social security number online. We knew that. Change your passwords often? Easy to say but hard to do. Can’t remember the ones we have now. Turn off the GPS feature on your phone camera so people don’t know where you are. Not a bad idea or you could wait until you got home to send the pictures anyway.
It’s one thing when the American Heart Association does a study about diet and draws some conclusions in the form of advice to helps us all eat healthier. But it’s another thing when a for-profit company conducts a study for the purpose of encouraging us to buy their product. Something tells me we will be seeing more of this kind of covert marketing. The sheer size of our demographic continues to make us a target – for the identity thieves and the antivirus software makers.