New research has revealed that Americans’ understanding of technology related issues varies greatly depending on the subject.
A survey by the Pew Research Center asked 4,272 adults living in the US, ten questions on their digital knowledge.
It was discovered that just 28% of the respondents could identify an example of two-factor authentication (2FA) – which is said to be one vital way users can protect their personal information.
Just under a quarter of Americans (24%) actually know that private browsing only hides browser history from other users on that computer, whilst nearly half of respondents (49%) admitting to being unaware of what private browsing does.
Fortunately 67% of US adults know that phishing scams can occur on numerous platforms, including email, text messages, social media or websites.
Only 63% of respondents understood that cookies allow websites to track user visits and site activity, whilst just 48% of US adults correctly identified that privacy policies are contracts between websites and users about how their data is utilised by those websites.
Similarly, 45% knew that net neutrality is the concept which relates to internet service providers treating all traffic on their networks equally.
When asked what “https://” in a URL means, only three-in-ten adults correctly answered.
The survey also identified that Americans’ knowledge on social media companies was relatively low – with just 29% of Americans correctly citing WhatsApp and Instagram as companies owned by Facebook.
“The public’s knowledge of digital topics varies substantially by educational attainment. Adults with a bachelor’s or advanced degree answered a median of six questions correctly, compared with four correct answers by those who have attended college but have not obtained a degree and three by those with a high school diploma or less.
“Roughly four-in-ten adults with at least a bachelor’s degree accurately answered seven or more questions (37%), compared with 20% of those with some college experience and just 9% of those with a high school education or less.”
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