Recent surveys show Gen Z is three times more likely to be caught in a scam and twice as likely to have their social media hacked. What makes the youngest generation so vulnerable?
More Time Spent Online
Gen Z spends more time online and on social media than any previous generation. They rely on technology for communication, shopping, banking, dating, and entertainment. With so much activity online, Gen Zers have more opportunities to encounter phishing emails, fake websites, dating scams, and other online fraud. Their whole lives are online, exposing them to more risks.
Familiarity Breeds Complacency
Because Gen Z grew up with the internet, they tend to be very comfortable with technology and less wary of potential threats. Where older generations exercise caution, Gen Zers may choose convenience over security. They are used to staying logged into apps, connecting with strangers online, and quickly clicking links without thinking critically. This complacency and eagerness for speed leaves them prime targets.
Poor Cybersecurity Education
Despite being “digital natives,” Gen Z hasn’t received effective cybersecurity training. Schools teach internet safety in overly broad strokes that don’t resonate with Gen Z’s actual experiences online. More tailored education explaining common scams and how to avoid them is needed. Teaching Gen Z to balance convenience and safety could better protect them.
The Price of Constant Connectivity
For better or worse, Gen Z is always plugged in. Scammers have taken note and adapted fraud to target them where they spend time: Instagram, TikTok, online shopping sites. Major platforms need to take more responsibility for user safety through stronger privacy controls and protections. But much of the onus remains on Gen Z to be vigilant.