Surfing safely: Examining older adults' online privacy protection behaviors

Hsiao Ying Huang, Masooda Bashir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The advancement of Internet technologies, including instant and unlimited access to information and services, is an excellent source of support for older adults. However, pervasive and continuous online tracking can pose threats to older adults' information privacy. To enhance older adults' online information privacy, it is important to understand how older adults behave online to protect their information privacy. Although most studies have examined the effect of older adults' privacy attitudes and perceptions on their technology adoption, very few empirical studies have focused on older adults' online privacy protection behaviors. It also remains unclear whether cognitive factors, such as older adults' concerns, knowledge, and perceived risks, impact their protective behaviors for online information privacy. Therefore, this exploratory study conducted a survey to investigate how older adults protect their online information privacy and the cognitive impacts on their behaviors. Our results reveal that older adults use several strategies to protect their online information privacy. In addition, we also confirmed a phenomenon of ‘Privacy Divide’ among older adults and provide recommendations for future technological development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)188-197
Number of pages10
JournalProceedings of the Association for Information Science and Technology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2018


  • Privacy-enhancing behaviors
  • aging-friendly systems
  • information privacy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science(all)
  • Library and Information Sciences


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