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Even Older Users Overshare Online

Older does not necessarily mean wiser when it comes to online privacy

November 18, 2013 | Demographics | Social Media

According to McAfee, 97% of adults ages 50 to 75 go online daily. Most use the internet primarily to make online purchases, access bank accounts, pay bills, and take care of other personal and business-related tasks. Still, eight in 10 are active on social networks as well, with over a third logging on to social networking sites daily.

Facebook is the most popular social network among this demographic—three-quarters report using the site compared to a paltry 35% and 22% using Google+ and Twitter, respectively. Despite shying away from more controversial social networking tools like Snapchat, a platform built with the express purpose of transmitting then deleting racy photos in 10 seconds or less, older users are still susceptible to drama on social sites.

Social Networks Used Among US Baby Boomer & Senior Internet Users, by Demographic, Sep 2013 (% of respondents in each group)

More than three in four internet users ages 45 and up worry about their online security, especially fraud or identity theft, and feel that having a social network account puts them at increased risk.

Organizations that Pose a Threat to Privacy According to US Internet Users, by Demographic, July 2013 (% of respondents in each group)

Yet two out of three readily share contact information. However, there is a large discrepancy between the likelihood of sharing something like an email address (55%) and a more traceable detail like a cellphone number (33%) or home address (25%). Still, a third of respondents feel comfortable sharing information ranging from personal photos to intimate or personal details including information about significant others. Moreover, half have used internet dating sites, which entails filling out a detailed personal profile to receive a compatible algorithmic match, or know someone who has.

A startling quarter of social network users in this age rage have even taken to sexting, indicating that older definitely does not mean wiser when it comes to oversharing online.

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