US government launches online safety campaign

US citizens feel a responsibility for safety on the worldwide web
Kerry Butters

September 26, 2011
internet

The US government has launched an online safety campaign, after research carried out by Heart + Mind Strategies showed that many consumers are concerned about online security.

The research found that not only are many US citizens concerned about their own safety, but many also feel that it’s important that “their online actions make the online community safer for everyone around the world.”

93% believe that they have a responsibility as a “global citizen” and 61% believe that online safety and security is something that falls under their personal control.

48% of Americans understand that their online actions can have “a positive impact on financial, economic and national security of the country”.

Predictably, over half of those asked said their main worry was the theft of their personal and financial data. 53% were also concerned that they may lose their jobs should their information be accessed.

Another major worry was the inability to be able to provide private health care for their families.

90% said they would like to learn more about how to stay safe on the internet, which proved to be a driving factor for the campaign to be put in place.

28% said that whilst they would like to stay safe online, they just don’t have enough information about how to do so. Many also said that they had recently seen or heard about online security in the media, and this usually came in the form of stories concerning identity theft.

There was also some awareness displayed on issues such as cyber-attacks on corporations and government.

12% of people said that they could not afford security solutions for their computers, whilst 5% said they were far too busy to worry about it.

The findings have led to the campaign being set up as “the first-ever coordinated message to help all digital citizens stay safer and more secure online.”

The incentive has been created by an “unprecedented coalition of private companies, nonprofits and government organizations.”

The “Stop.Think.Connect” campaign hopes to achieve the same kind of results that previous safety campaigns in the US have enjoyed, such as what “Smokey Bear” did for forest fire safety and “Click it or Ticket” did for seatbelt safety.

The survey was conducted at a national level and questioned over a thousand people aged 18 plus, across a range of demographics.

It showed that many Americans have a high interest and level of awareness on internet security and many believe that they personally can make a difference, given enough quality information.






 

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