Grant / January 2020

Designing a Privacy Curriculum for the Elderly

Prior work has demonstrated that older adults are particularly unaware of and susceptible to online privacy and security risks, due to their limited technological literacy and experience and their declining physical and mental abilities. Increasing awareness about privacy and security among the elderly is especially critical because older adults are disproportionately targeted for Internet crime and fraud, due to the perceived wealth accumulated from significant retirement savings. They are also less able to assess the quality and validity of information they receive. For these reasons, it is imperative to develop a framework that ensures that older adults are not only informed about standard privacy procedures, but can correctly assess future threats. Many resources aimed at teaching privacy to a mass audience are geared towards younger generations who have fundamentally different attitudes, experiences, and physical and cognitive abilities. In this seed project, we attempt to implement a novel, concrete curriculum and assess its success among older adults. We aim to pilot a study that develops and tests the curriculum for teaching the best security and privacy practices to older adults. The curriculum will build off the Teaching Privacy modules (with the assistance of one of the researchers involved in their development) while tweaking the user interface to cater to the particular needs and abilities of older adults.