Study Finds Millennials Both Love & Fear the Internet

Millenials Fighting

When it comes to the Internet, millennials both love it and fear at the same time.

A new study has discovered that millennials, an age demographic that is the most tech-savvy in history, are more frightened of the Internet than their older counterparts. This may confound many considering the fact that millennials are constantly connected through smartphones, tablets, smart TVs and the list goes on.

See Also: 3 Digital Outlets Where Millennials Get Their News

(eMarketer released a report that found nearly half (45 percent) of those 19-22 spent four hours each weekday on mobile Internet.) 


Rasmussen College’s reports entitled "Digital Literacy in 2015: America’s Complicated Relationship with the Internet" found that more than one-third (37 percent) of those between 18 and 34 identify the Internet as "scary" and 35 percent conceded to the fact that they don’t feel safe online. 

How come millennials don’t feel safe using the World Wide Web? According to the study, 71 percent cited computer viruses and 68 percent are worried about identity theft. Despite these concerns, more than one-quarter (26 percent) said they use the same password for multiple accounts, a move that security experts say is wrong and makes you susceptible to data breaches.

Ostensibly, millennials maintain a love-hate relationship with the Internet. The survey of 2,009 adults noted that 59 percent of millennials find the Internet "overwhelming," but more than two-thirds (68 percent) admitted that they "can’t live without it."

No longer are millennials open to anyone viewing their profiles on social media. The digital literacy report listed that 70 percent of 18-34-year-olds made their Facebook pages private, which is a lot more than their older peers (60 percent for 35-54; 45 percent for 55-plus).


Although millennials are labeled with the moniker of being tech-savvy, 10 percent did not apply to a job because they were not confident in their digital literacy skills. Whether or not they maintained a strong technical acumen remains unknown.

In the end, millennials want to improve their digital literacy intelligence, an interesting finding that is usually found in older generations. Twenty-seven percent want to enhance their office/professional skills, 23 percent want to learn how to browse the web safely and 12 percent want to get the most out of the Internet. Seventeen percent didn’t want any additional training at all.

What exactly is holding back millennials from learning more? According to the survey, many are alluding to a paucity of time (39 percent), a lack of affordability (28 percent), unsure where to go (23 percent) and embarrassment to admit they can’t do some of these digital tasks. 

"While many Americans are scared, overwhelmed or confused by the Internet and the technology evolving around them, they can’t imagine their lives without it," the report stated. "This survey shows people recognize the importance of improving their software skills and staying safe on the web, and are motivated to master new skills and make themselves more digitally literate. However, they are discouraged by time and cost restrictions, not knowing where to turn for help and feeling too embarrassed to admit inadequacies—even though they know these skills could help improve their lives." 

Are you a millennial? What’s your take on the Internet? Is it a paradoxical viewpoint? Let us know in the comments section below.

Rasmussen College