Generali Global Assistance (GGA) published a white paper titled, “Seniors & Millennials: Uncovering the Likeness & Disparities in Today’s Digital Age”, in conjunction with the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC), a nationally recognized non-profit organization established to support victims of identity theft.

GGA and the ITRC polled 1,509 seniors and 1,510 millennials to gain a better understanding of how each subset of society protects their data in today’s digital age. The whitepaper notes that while there are some important differences between seniors and millennials, there are oft-overlooked similarities that unite the two groups, and neither is immune to partaking in risky digital behaviors.

Paige Schaffer, CEO of Global Identity and Cyber Protection Services, commented, “With the continued digitization of our identities and the rise in IoT devices, people need to protect themselves against identity theft now, more than ever. The insights we garnered from this survey will help us better protect customers across generations by understanding how each group protects their personal data, and what can be done to improve upon it.” 

Top insights from the white paper include:

  1. Seniors and millennials are both connecting to a similar number of Internet of Things devices (at least 7 Wi-Fi devices) and both engaging in similar, risky online behaviors.
  2. Millennials lead the way in terms of digital service adoption with one exception: 2 percent more seniors say they shop online versus millennials (87 percent versus 85 percent).
  3. Across generations, the biggest gap in digital service use is seen in riding sharing apps – while just 15 percent of seniors use these services, 37 percent of millennials say they do.
  4. Many seniors (39 percent) store passwords on a sheet of paper while most millennials (40 percent) use an online password manager.
  5. Fortunately, a very small number from each generation “use the same password for all online accounts” (3 percent  of seniors and 5 percent of millennials).
  6. 42 percent of seniors and 41 percent of millennials very frequently or occasionally change their password after a breach.
  7. Across generations, a similar number have a few different passwords that they rotate between accounts so that there’s no need to store them (16 percent of millennials and 14 percent of seniors).
  8. Seniors have a leg up on millennials regarding password reuse: 45 percent of seniors use the same password across 0-1 online accounts, while only 31 percent of millennials can say the same (most millennials (43 percent) are using the same password across 2-3 accounts).
  9. Social media usage between generations shows the greatest disparity with 49 percent of millennials opting for high privacy settings while only 30 percent of seniors opt for the same.
  10. An alarming number of seniors (19 percent) and millennials (56 percent) are sharing banking information with others outside of their spouse/significant other.
  11. Seniors seem to be making more of an effort (21 percent) than millennials (13 percent) staying in the know about identity theft and fraud prevention, but – across both generations – not enough people are doing so.
  12. Both seniors and millennials feel they’re doing all they can to protect their identity, despite a negligible number (21 percent of seniors and 13 percent of millennials) saying they’re protected with an identity protection program.

“The insights from this survey will help both advocates and industry alike. By understanding how different generations engage online and practice identity hygiene, all stakeholders can develop more meaningful tools and education programs to protect consumers,” added Eva Velasquez, President and CEO of the Identity Theft Resource Center. 

To view the full white paper, please click here