Millennials vs. Gen-XMost surveys are devoted to figuring out what Millennials want to buy. Then there are research organizations such as Pew Research, which are watching how Millennials bend and mold the Internet to their needs. The Pew Research survey Millennials Confident. Connected. Open to Change was considered the seminal word in 2010 for comparing Millennials to past generations. The following slide from the report provides a glimpse of why each generation felt it was unique. What stands out is how important Millenials say that technology is to them and their generation.
OK, so Millennials may think technology is a more defining feature of their generation, but does that mean they use differently or feel differently about it? One new area of interest for those who study generational differences is online privacy. The perception is that Millennials look at online privacy in a way that prior generations find disturbing. To see if that's true, Fortinet commissioned Lightspeed Research to survey Millennials and the next older age group, Gen-X, and compiled the results in its 2014 Privacy Survey.
The survey interviewed 150 people in two age groups - Gen-X and Millennials. The number of men and women were split equally in each age group. The survey focused on four topics: password best practices, the value of personal data, snooping and online practices.
Password Best PracticesThe first question: How often do you change your online passwords?
- 37% of both Millennials and Gen-X change their online passwords only when prompted.
- 30% (25% Millennial, 35% Gen-X) change passwords every three months.
- 16% (19% Millennial, 13% Gen-X) change passwords once a month.
- 9% (11% Millennial, 7% Gen-X) change passwords once a year.
- 4% (5% Millennial, 2% Gen-X) change passwords every day.
- 4% (2% Millennials, 5% Gen-X) never change passwords.
- 57% (63% Millennial, 51% Gen-X) of all participants said they did.
- 46% of both Millennials and Gen-X use different passwords for a few online accounts.
- 40% of both Millennials and Gen-X use different passwords for every online account.
- 7% of both Millennials and Gen-X use different passwords for their most sensitive accounts.
- 7% of both Millennials and Gen-X use the same password for every online account.
The Value of Personal DataNext, Fortinet wanted to learn what value each age group placed on certain data by asking the following question:
In the event of a personal privacy breach, which of the following items would you fear losing the most: medical information, mailing address, email address, financial statements, Social Security Number, tax returns, online passwords, contents of emails, Internet-browsing history or online purchasing history?
The top three choices were:
- Both Millennials and Gen-X ranked Social Security Number as the most important.
- Gen-X ranked mailing address as second-most important.
- Millennials chose tax returns as second-most important.
- Both Millennials and Gen-X ranked online passwords as third-most important.
SnoopingFortinet then asked the respondents if the NSA overstepped its bounds by snooping on US citizens:
- 44% (41% of Millennial, 47% of Gen-X) felt the NSA overstepped its bounds.
- 20% (22% of Millennial, 18% of Gen-X) did not have a strong opinion.
- 19% (23% of Millennial, 15% of Gen-X) felt the NSA did what was necessary.
- 17% (14% of Millennial, 20% Gen-X) did not know about the NSA snooping.
- 39% of both Millennials and Gen-X said any type of corporate monitoring is out of bounds.
- 38% (37% Millennials, 39% Gen-X) said monitoring was all right if it involved work activities.
- 12% (16% of Millennial, 9% of Gen-X) felt it was okay.
- 11% of both groups had no opinion or were unsure how they felt.
Online PracticesMost people consider "online marketing practices" a point of contention between Millennials and other generations. Fortinet decided to find out by asking the respondents to answer whether they would knowingly share the following information with marketers:
- 50% (53% Millennials, 46% Gen-X) would share personal email addresses.
- 38% (35% Millennials, 41% Gen-X) would share no personal information.
- 33% (31% Millennials, 35% Gen-X) would share personal mailing addresses.
- 26% (28% Millennials, 25% Gen-X) would share personal phone numbers.
- 9% (9% Millennial, 8% Gen-X) would share access to social media accounts.
- 41% (40% Millennials, 43% Gen-X) adjust privacy settings to limit certain information.
- 38% (41% Millennials, 35% Gen-X) use strict privacy settings.
- 16% (15% Millennial, 17% Gen-X) use default privacy settings.
- 5% (4% Millennials, 5% Gen-X) remove all privacy settings.
- 30% (23% Millennials, 37% Gen-X) said they do not post personal information.
- 28% (27% Millennials, 28% Gen-X) said they were worried.
- 19% (21% Millennials, 17% Gen-X) were not worried.
- 18% (25% Millennials, 11% Gen-X) were concerned if information was shared with marketers.
- 5% (4% Millennials, 7% Gen-X) were unsure of their feelings.