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MEF’s 8th Annual Global Trust Study was carried out in February and March 2022. On behalf of MEF, On Device Research surveyed 6,500 smartphone users, 650 in each of 10 markets. This is the fourth year that Assurant has worked with the MEF to explore people’s global, regional, and individual sentiments surrounding mobile services, privacy, personal information, identity, and trust.

This year, the team added an independently studied cohort to the 8th MEF Global Trust Report effort: United States college students, i.e., people studying at a U.S. 4-year undergraduate private or public college or university.

Dispelling Youth-Related Privacy & Technology Myths

There are many common myths about “young people,” most notably that young people don’t care about privacy despite being all-in on technology. However, this myth does not hold up to scrutiny as this and several other studies dispel it.

The study finds that students are modestly more trusting of mobile apps and services than the broader population, including social media apps, but this does not mean they do not care about their privacy or take actions to protect themselves. While students are active users of mobile apps and services, this year’s study shows that more students take actions to protect themselves than the broader population.

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About Assurant

Assurant, Inc. (NYSE: AIZ) is a leading global provider of lifestyle and housing solutions that support, protect and connect major consumer purchases. Anticipating  the evolving needs of consumers, Assurant partners with the world’s leading brands to develop innovative products and services and to deliver an enhanced customer experience.

A Fortune 500 company with a presence in 21 countries, Assurant offers mobile device solutions; extended service contracts; vehicle protection services; pre-funded funeral insurance; renters insurance; lender-placed insurance products; and other specialty products. The Assurant Foundation strengthens communities by supporting charitable partners that help protect where people live and can thrive, connect with local resources, inspire inclusion and prepare leaders of the future.

Key Findings

  • U.S. College Students Are Slightly More Trusting Than The Broader Population

Students display slightly more trust when sharing personal data and in content they find on the internet, however there is still a considerable level of unease.

  • Some Believe Aspects Of Privacy And Security Have Improved In The Past Year

As also observed in the broader population study, there is a perception of some improvement in data privacy and security. The greatest perceived change relates to user education and enablement rather than actions taken by enterprises or regulators to improve the environment.

  • Students are more likely to take proactive steps to protect their personal data

Compared to the broader population, more students have taken at least one form of protective action. Several actions are more common among students, including using a personal data store or information management service. As a result, they are also more likely to say that they feel ‘a lot’ safer.

  • But They Remain Vulnerable: 9 In 10 Have Been Exposed To Data Harm And 1 In 4 Feel ‘Helpless’ Despite The Protective Actions They Take

Many still do not consider themselves well protected: 1 in 4 self-classify as ‘Helpless’ when it comes to protecting themselves from data harm.

We believe mobile apps and services have an extremely bright future. Mobile is the most ubiquitous consumer engagement platform on the planet, and it’s just getting started. There are more than 5 billion unique mobile users globally today with another 2 billion people coming online in the next few years. I encourage you to read both MEF trust studies (MEF members also have access to the raw data) to learn more about evolving consumer sentiments and the nexus of personal data, identity and trust. With this knowledge we can better help mobile users not only feel more protected but truly empowered as well.

Craig Thole,Senior Vice President, Assurant

The key aspect of our reports remains benchmarking consumer trust. The concern around personal data (privacy), or financial fraud is high. There is unease, as observed in the global study previously, around the ability to stay safe and in control when sharing personal data, particularly on social media. Students avoid sharing personal data as a defence strategy. This does not bode well with an industry that wants them more engaged. The college students report an improvement in education and awareness, they are happy the industry is investing in better education, but overall things are not yet right for them. Nine out of 10 students have experienced data harm and typically do not feel they have adequate protection – the data is worrying. We are not treating our future best customers with the experience they expect. There is time to address that if we act soon.

Dario BettiCEO, MEF