Gen Z and the Data Security Paradox
As technology advances, more personal information is required to offer a better user experience and keep users safe. But how much data should be shared? As part of our Youth Decoded study, we looked at how Gen Z is comfortable trusting their personal information with digital brands – especially if it’s in exchange for a better online experience.
Whether we like it or not, data collection is a part of everyday life. In fact, Pew Research found that 62% of US adults say it is impossible to go about their daily lives without companies collecting their data. Our Youth Decoded research shows that 82% of 13-24s globally worry about the data that is collected about themThis same study found, however, that while young people are concerned about their data privacy, nearly two-thirds (64%) of 13-24s globally say it’s fine for companies to collect data about them if they’re transparent about what they’re doing. That transparency is crucial – nearly the entire generation (91%) believes it’s a human right to know what information companies are holding about them.
IT’S NOT IDEAL, BUT GEN Z SEES NO WAY AROUND IT
Gen Z may not love having their data collected, but they accept it as part of their plugged-in lifestyle. The generation is aware that sharing their data gives them access to a better product or service – and about a third (33%) of 18-24s globally have intentionally done so in the past year for that reason.
The same idea can be applied to social media. Gen Z may be concerned with data security, but they dole out their personal information anyway, especially when it comes to participating in the latest trends. The controversy surrounding TikTok and the US government in late 2020 is a great example of how Gen Z can look past their concerns for something they find enjoyable. Even when TikTok was at the center of conversations around cyber security and was subsequently almost banned by the US government, YouGov found 18-24 year-olds in the US were significantly more likely (43%) to say TikTok is not a threat (as compared with 23% who say it is a threat). YouGov also found that 44% of US adults under age 24 would oppose government bans on TikTok.
TikTok is the social platform for Gen Z. It has the strongest growth among Americans 13+ across all the mainstream social media platforms coming into 2021 (13% usage in 2020 to 20% in 2021), according to CivicScience. Fortunately, the platform is working to tighten security for TikTokers in the key under-18 demographic, according to Campaign, a global marketing, media and advertising magazine. And while a majority (58%) of 18-24s globally have adjusted their privacy settings, this is a great step that social media platforms can take to help keep this generation secure – especially its younger members.