Are Millennials Taking Cybersecurity Seriously?

Are Millennials Taking Cybersecurity Seriously?

Making Cybersecurity Real for Our Generation

There’s a difference between knowing something and acting on it. For millennials, who’ve grown up with the internet and all it brings with it, cybersecurity threats have always been there. But has the young generation’s familiarity with technology desensitized them to the impact cyber threats can have on their lives?

Many young people openly admit they don’t follow best practices when browsing the internet. They are more careless with cybersecurity than baby boomers and generation X, one study found, and frequently use work devices outside the office, opening them up to potential hacking. That sounds like cause for concern. Is it?

Understanding Our Security Gap

Before you can evaluate how alert the young generation is on matters of cybersecurity, it’s important to consider the question of context. Millennials are hardly considered technologically illiterate. They are certainly more tech-savvy than other demographics, but the ability to use technology effectively is not the same as understanding the implications of how it is used.

What are the security practices millennials fail to use? They frequently share passwords, or use passwords less robust than recommended, for starters. In corporate settings, millennials are more likely than any other demographic group to move corporate data insecurely. Because they are more inclined to take advantage of work-from-home technology, millennials often use insecure third-party apps in inappropriate settings.

Some of the lack of security seems to stem from overconfidence in their understanding of cybersecurity concerns, which keeps millennials from communicating with IT departments and other security supervisors.

Change Begins With Education

Rather than allow young people to go through life assuming they’re protected during online communications, education systems need to take into account the importance of cybersecurity training. Some already do that, teaching teens how to avoid forfeiting sensitive information to things like phishing attacks and social media scams. There are even advanced-level programs like “Hacker High-School” that prepare young people for a future in the world of network security.

Instilling good habits and practices at a young age is important. As millennials age, they inherit a world where, more than ever before, all of their personal information and important data is available online. The stakes become more real when the health and wellbeing of your family are in question, not just your social network username and password.

Creating Careers in Cybersecurity

Another reason to inform young people on the subject of cybersecurity is the growing need for professionals in this field. Cyber crime isn’t going away any time soon, and as malicious software and scams become more creative every day, the need for professional security experts grows.

Allowing millennials to fall behind in the race to combat cyber crime would be a mistake in a time when many important new technologies are just around the corner. Take self-driving cars, for example. While the prospect of this technology sounds promising, huge questions about how to secure the infrastructure for such vehicles remain unanswered. The task of answering these questions and maintaining that infrastructure lies squarely with today’s young people.

Making Cybersecurity Real for Young People

The challenge to keep cyber crime at bay will remain as long as the internet plays a central role in our lives. That is something that won’t change any time soon. Some millennials feel, understandably, that the perceived threat is less imposing than their forebears would have them think.

That is a matter of perception, but it does seem millennials understand the technology even if the seriousness of threats hasn’t sunk in for them. For someone who grew up during a time when keeping information private was as simple as locking it away in a file cabinet, of course, the change is major. Could it be that millennials do understand the nature of these threats and are just unthreatened by them?

That is unquestionably the truth for some, but even so cyber criminals have demonstrated any door left open will be exploited. For the internet-using public to begin to fight back against a growing threat, the level of urgency must go up for young people.

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it


Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

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Culture Has Changed With Technology, And We Need To Focus More On Human Connection

The way we interact day to day has changed drastically since smart phones have been introduced.


Growing up in an era where you can track your friends, view parties through snap chat stories, and create an entire persona digitally has shaped the way we think and live.

Listening to my parents tell stories about how they grew up, couldn't be further from how kids today spend their summer days. We've all heard our parents complain about how we are on our phones too much and you never see kids playing outside anymore, it's sad that it's true.

It scares me to think about how the next generation of kids are going to be because right now we are already faced with countless cyberbullying cases, mental illnesses rising, and obesity amongst young kids. Having grown up when social media in its toddler stage, I don't feel that it has the same effect that it does on kids born in the '00s.

The smallest of things like texting 'here' when you get to a friends house rather than going to the door or honking. Sitting at lunch with friends you feel that undeniable urge to check your phone. Using your phone as a buffer when a situation gets awkward.

Dating has changed, and with the rise of online dating, there is less of a need to go up to someone you like if you can just message them a funny gif to break the ice because talking face to face is too intimidating.

Don't want to leave your house to get food? No problem, have it delivered to your house. Want to break up with someone? Do it over text.

Human interaction is becoming an option; it's becoming something we can avoid. Granted, technology has helped to accomplish amazing things but it is swallowing our social lives and how we live day to day.

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