83% of young people have online privacy fears

Young Brits are hoping for the best and expecting the worst when it comes to their future – 71 per cent of young Brits claim it’s tougher to get on the property ladder than it was 20 years ago. Recent economic uncertainty sees 51 per cent say that financial security is harder than it was for previous generations. However, many believe the Internet has helped their generation to achieve great education (82 per cent), personal freedom (81 per cent) and access to information (44 per cent).

From inciting social change to developing business ideas, the internet generation – Net Set – are going online to secure their future. Savvy online 18-25-year-olds reveal how growing up with the world at their fingertips has shaped what happens next.

Internet Explorer 8 conducted a study as part of the launch of its Life Academy, which is offering three £10K grants to help young people make their socially responsible ideas a reality.

Professor Robert Winston, Professor of Science and Society at Imperial College London and Life Academy judge, commenting on the research, said, “The Net Set counts themselves lucky to be the first internet generation. Four in five recognise the web gives them access to valuable inspiration and knowledge, helps make changes in the world and even lets their business ideas fly. Unlike previous generations, the Net Set has grown up with global knowledge meaning they have bigger dreams, ambitions and the desire to engage with more people. The internet has changed the way we converse with each other and this age group has the ability to capitalise on this and create their own empire.”

In fact, 58 per cent of young Brits say the internet encourages them to strive for more, including more than half (55 per cent) using the web to search for new business ideas.

The findings also show the Net Set believes the web makes them more socially engaged with 70 per cent agreeing that the internet helps people to do good through charity and fund raising – and nearly seven in ten have participated in an online petition or campaign.

They are also less enamoured by paparazzi celebs like Alex Reid and Victoria Beckham. Instead, the most respected celebrities are those who live the social change message such as Barack Obama (13 per cent) and marathon-man Eddie Izzard (eight per cent), but the most admired of all is Stephen Fry (18 per cent), suggesting that the Net Set want to emulate brains and compassion, rather than good-looks alone.

Julia Owen, Internet Explorer Product Manager for Microsoft, said: “The immense scope of the internet means we can explore and grow ideas to help drive our future hopes. In fact, 84 per cent of the Net Set claim the Internet has made life better for their age group than 20 years ago.

“Whether people are adventurers, entrepreneurs or creative thinkers, Life Academy can help inspire them to explore their future.”

The survey also reveals that 83% are fearful of sharing details, censorship or cyber stalking and, of those, four out of five 18-25-year-olds believe the benefits of the internet far outweigh security and privacy threats. They value it for knowledge or inspiration (80%), fostering creativity (63%) and the majority say it gives them better business opportunities (72%). Even though the majority are concerned about sharing personal details, online browsers like Internet Explorer 8 put the Net Set in control of their security allowing them get on with doing what they do best.

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