Two Sides: U.S. Consumers Feel Print on Paper Is Safer Than Digital Media
In recent years, there has been an explosion of data breaches in the financial, business and health care sectors. This has made people everywhere sit up and take notice about where and how their important personal data is stored.
It is not surprising then, that the recent Toluna survey commissioned by Two Sides revealed that 78% of U.S. respondents keep hard copies of important documents at home as they believe this is the safest and most secure way of storing their information. A similar number (76%) are increasingly concerned that personal information held electronically is at risk of being hacked, stolen, lost or damaged.
For a taste of what these digital breaches can look like, check out a few examples covered in this blog. Millions of small businesses, households and patients are affected by data breaches every year. While moving from paper to digital records seems like it should save time and energy, the reverse can also be true.
Trusting the news found on digital media has also become increasingly difficult as hoaxes and misleading information pop up on the internet and then are shared on social media. Survey results show that 74% of respondents thought fake news was a worrying trend. In total, 56% said they trust the news stories they read in printed newspapers versus 35% trusting the news stories they read on social media. 64% said they would be very concerned if printed newspapers were to disappear.
The 55+ age group was less trusting of both printed and online news sources, with just 39% saying they trust the news stories they read in printed newspapers, and only 7% say they trust the news stories on social media.
The results clearly show that having a printed copy, whether it be a newspaper, an invoice or a health or financial record is generally perceived to be a more secure way of receiving information than its digital counterpart.
Age group differences were examined between the overall survey group and the 18 to 24 year-old age group (table below). The younger age group was less inclined to keep hard copies of important documents, and also less concerned about their digital information being hacked, stolen, lost or damaged (11% lower response than the average). However, they showed similar levels of trust for print media and an even higher concern about fake news as a worrying trend.
Phil has over 28 years of international experience related to sustainability and the forest products industry. He currently leads Two Sides North America, a non-profit that promotes the unique sustainable features of print and paper, as well as their responsible production and use. Two Sides operates globally in five continents with members that span the entire graphic communication value chain. Phil has written extensively on sustainability and environmental topics related to the forest products sector. He received his Bachelor and Master's of Science degrees from McGill University in Montreal. He is a private forest owner and sustainably manages over 200 acres of forestland for both recreational and economic benefits.