“Warn Them” or “Just Block Them”?: Investigating Privacy Concerns Among Older and Working Age Adults

Authors: Hirak Ray (University of Maryland, Baltimore County), Flynn Wolf (University of Maryland, Baltimore County), Ravi Kuber (University of Maryland, Baltimore County), Adam J. Aviv (The George Washington University)

Volume: 2021
Issue: 2
Pages: 27–47
DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/popets-2021-0016

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Abstract: Prior work suggests that older adults are less aware of potential digital privacy risks compared to younger groups. We seek to expand on these findings by using drawmetrics with 20 older adults (60+) to visualize their experiences with digital privacy via drawing sessions. We further compared older adults with 20 adults of working age (18-59) with the goal of identifying both overlapping concerns and key differences that may be missed when viewing each group in isolation. We extended our evaluation with a survey with questions and themes derived from open-coding of the drawn images and confirmed three key differences between the age groups. These include older adults perceiving a greater threat from using online banking and ecommerce compared to working age adults, older adults exhibiting greater levels of concern about global scale threats, and working age adults showing more privacyrelated concern regarding social media. Our findings can be used to potentially tailor applications to better accommodate privacy concerns for older adults.

Keywords: Older Adults, Privacy, Internet

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