Apertura. Revista de innovación educativa‏

Vol. 8, Núm. 2 / octubre 2016 – marzo 2017 / ISSN 2007-1094


Safety in digital skills of Millennials


Berenice Castillejos López[1]

Carlos Arturo Torres Gastelú[2]

Agustín Lagunes Domínguez[3]



In this document, based on a combined survey, we value the perception of the university student regarding web safety, which is considered one of the fields in digital skills. Supported by descriptors in the Basque Institute of Qualifications and Professional Training (2014) Ikanosproject, we considered four topics: Device Protection, Personal Data Protection, Health Protection, and Sustainable Use of Technological Resources (INTEF, 2014). For data collection we use an online survey and an individual semi-structured interview. Results show that millennials use basic safety practices such as the use of antivirus, passwords, and configuration settings of web tools among others. Regarding digital identity and health, it is necessary to promote the proper use of personal data and encourage healthy media habits. For the protection of natural environment we see the need to create awareness regarding equipment acquisitions, the use of energy, recycling and technological waste. In the end, the goal for this survey is to contribute to the discussion on safety and media consumption within the framework of digital skills. 


Keywords: Internet, millennials, digital skills, data protection, digital safety, ICT.





When we talk about the profile of the university student, it is important to consider his actions as a Web information and knowledge agent. That is why it is necessary to identify elements that describe him as an internet user. There are classifications that go from basic ones, to differentiate new users from those who already use information and communication technologies (ICT), and also to differentiate them from those who are experts.  There are more structured types that are established according to the level of participation, others are focused to the age of user and point out certain attributes regarding the use of technology; other classifications refer to the time spent in the Web, and their motives to navigate.  Among the most common expressions is “generation net”, which is defined according to the use of the internet, consumers and producers, information and development of content, natives and digital immigrants, categorized by age, visitors, residents, classified by motivation; and generations of the shift from millennium or millennials, that refers to the digital era (Howe & Strauss, 2000; Pedró, 2006; Prensky, 2001; Tapscott, 1998; Tapscott & Williams, 2008; White & Le Cornu, 2011).  


The millennials are individuals born between 1982 and 2000, also called generation Y; they appeared in the transit of the millennium and are contemporary to the digital revolution. These are techno-social communities where the use of the internet, mobiles and video games are key elements in their daily activities. They are over stimulated with information and cultural multimedia experiences. (Area, Borrás & San Nicolás, 2015; Howe & Strauss, 2000; Pedró, 2006; Romo & Tarango, 2015). This is a segment that is not a homogeneous one because it presents diversity on internet access, abilities on the use of technology and purpose of Web use, meaning: if activities are done in a formal educational context or in an informal environment (Jones, Ramanau, Cross &Healing, 2010; Eynon & Malmberg, 2011). Such referents differ from the arguments of Prensky (2001) which pinpoint that not all the people born after 1980 have a high level of internet use and have advanced digital skills (Akçayır, Dündar & Akçayır, 2016).


Millennials use internet to communicate, to linger, for information search, and to create and participate in certain activities. Informal learning experiences could come from video recording, artistic projects and podcasts, writing and sharing stories or making compositions, among other activities. It is important to clarify that the majority are still in their position of consumer and repeater of content. In the academic field, common activities are related to sharing information of classroom subjects, and being part of academic groups in social networks, only when created by teachers. (Abel, Buff & Burr, 2016; Akçayır, Dündar & Akçayır,2016; Domínguez & López, 2015; Garza, 2013;  Jones, Ramanau, Cross & Healing, 2010; Eynon & Malmberg, 2011; Lee, 2014; Odabasi, Kusu & Gunuc, 2012; Pedró, 2006; Regil, 2014).


The most visited social networks by this generation are Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Linkedin is only used for professional purposes. Devices mostly used are laptops and smartphones. Due to the elevated use of this last one, they are also called Smartphone Generation. 2013 international statistics revealed that 76% of millennials population had a mobile phone. Regarding connection length of time, an average of six daily hours was detected. According data by region, in North America and Latin America they were connected seven hours, and in Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, six hours. Only five hours of connection were detected in Western Europe, Middle East and Africa. The above indicates that the American continent is the one with more hours of connection in the world. (Abel, Buff & Burr, 2016; Johri, Teo, Lo, Dyfour & Schram, 2013; Lee, 2014; Telefónica, 2013).


As a result of this information, this new era requires individuals with the proper skills for production, broadcasting and use of information, in such a way that they can face XXI Century challenges. Such fact gave rise to multi‒literacy (an integrated approach of the different literacy due to the different culture languages and resources of society today); a condition needed for a democratic construction of citizenship, which implies the development of knowledge, cognitive and instrumental skills, as well as values and social and political nature attitudes related to the use of the ICTs, all flexible tools for permanent learning activities. (Area, 2010; Chávez & Gutiérrez, 2015; Odabasi, Kusu & Gunuc, 2012).




Addressing the subject of safety in digital environments invites us to think about the benefits added to society by the use of the internet in the XXI Century. Nevertheless, risks generated by navigation and, in some cases, overexposure to media resources should be noted. To meet with the good practice regarding safety, it is convenient to keep a neutral position without falling into technophobic statements, but also we cannot obviate physical and psychological effects as a result of excessive use of internet and wrong handling of devices. ICTs should be used in a smart way. Before possible risks implied by being present in the Web, it is basic to take the necessary measurements at the moment of sharing information (Area, Borrás & San Nicolás, 2015).


Digital skills should not only be conceived from an instrumental prospective, but they have to be related to physiological and social aspects as well. Because of the need to profit from technologies and enhance participation and empowerment of XXI Century society, every citizen should develop digital skills because they have a transversal character and they are a key aspect of modern life. Promote such skills, for work, school, or every day purposes, implies a critical, creative and secure use of the ICTs (Basque Institute of Qualifications and Professional Training 2014a). Aquino, Izquierdo, García and Valdés (2016), argue that digital skills makes academic development easier for university students and opens possibilities for their participation in other learning experiences.


According to Caberoy Gutiérrez (2015) and García-Aretio (2016), the use for technologies for learning is to rethink the school and also a balance between individual and social dimension of the individual navigating the Web should be considered. In the same way that the presence in virtual spaces personal values and behavior adopted into society are also interlaced.


Ferrari (2013), through the DIGCOMP project, sets a common frame of digital skills based on knowledge, abilities and attitudes. This includes five areas: information, communication, content development, safety and problem solving. Regarding safety, it implies device protection, personal data, health and environment or surroundings (INTEF, 2014) (see chart 1).


The skill related to safety, promotes device protection, meaning, to be aware of the risks and threats emerging in the Web; for example, virus, malware (programs and harmful codes searching to get into an equipment), spam (unsolicited electronic mail), APT (from the English Advanced Persistent Threat), programs that restrict access to certain sections or files of the affected system and which sole purpose is to block the use of the device or part of the information, as well as the phishing or attacks, with the purpose of misleading the user with fake electronic mails or web pages. These are some of the risks faced by the internet user (IGF Spain, 2015; Chhikara, Dahiya, Garg & Rani, 2013; Hall, 2016).


Chart 1. Safety, digital skills area.



 Device Protection

Protect own devices and understand web risks and threats, to know about protection and safety measurements.

   Data Protection

Understand usual terms of programs and digital services. Actively protect personal data. Respect privacy of others. Protect oneself of threats, frauds and cyberbullying.

  Health Protection

Avoid health risks related to the use of technology, regarding physical integrity and psychological well‒being.



Consider the impact of the ICTs on the environment.


Source: INTEF, 2014.


Regarding personal data protection, it is important to consider terms and conditions of the use of pages and digital tools around the Web. Also become aware of data protection (written information, images, videos, among others) to counteract risks of threats, frauds and cyberbullying which are an everyday exposure. The same way, this factor involves respect to other people privacy, for example, in social networks it is usually observed the tagging of contacts of images posted in the wall.  Sometimes, Facebook users do not know one fifth of the people at their acquaintance list. These unknown contacts have access to pictures and significant information that could risk their safety (Lee, 2014).


Addressing the subject of privacy and personal data implies the analysis of digital identity. In a strict sense, building an online identity is not based on legal or material issues, it emerges from the expression of a personal will from a flexible spectrum adjusted to individual wishes (Martínez and Flores, 2016; Sullivan, 2016). Millennials share information and transfer knowledge that produces an effect on the presentation and development of their digital brand. Sometimes, their enthusiasm of having a presence in the Web makes them compromise their privacy (Steijn & Vedder, 2015; Geller, 2016).  Castañeda y Camacho (2012) point out that when giving value to digital identity, two aspects are taken into consideration: the personal area, related to what the person does in a visible form in internet, and the social area, related to those that have an influence (social web of contacts or the personal web of learning) to generate such identity, and also those people that are affected or influenced by the referred individual.


To emphasize the above, this generation must have in mind that over exposure of personal information in the Web easily attracts users that navigate with different profiles and which purpose, sometimes, have to do with negative actions (protests, cyberbullying, aggressions, hacking, espionage and extortion, among others). Beck (2015) points out that for scholar activities, invisible digital identities should be created, meaning the creation of anonymous digital accounts or with nicknames that protect official data of students. At the same time the use of private virtual webs that do not require an IP address, as well as the use of browsers and other programs that prevent digital fingerprint tracking. For that reason, one of the challenges of the government, together with educational centers and civil society is to raise people awareness regarding the impact of digital identity and education in values.


On the other hand, health protection takes into account physical and emotional risks that people with an excessive use of technology are exposed to. Internet addictive behaviors, added to sleeping and attention disorders, as well as body aches suffered by long exposure to this electronic means, affect in a certain way the quality of life of user (IGF Spain, 2015; Wąsiński & Tomczyk, 2015).


Young people with addictive behavior may consider their permanent connectivity as something inherent because of the way they build their friendly relationships and social life. It is worth mentioning that during 2012, United Kingdom made a study which showed that two thirds of internet users presented nomophobia, which is the fear to be without their mobile phone. Another finding was the great interest to know about others and, in a certain degree, the risk of turning invisible if they stop checking their devices and sending messages. Such activity triggers the FOMO syndrome (fear of missing out), the fear of missing something when stopping their use of the internet. Added to that, it is recognized a digital intoxication (oversaturation of information) and distracting factors circulating the Web (Abel, Buff & Burr, 2016; Lee, 2014; Serrano-Puche, 2012).


To counteract the mentioned effects, healthy media habits are promoted, they are translated in a digital diet that implies assessing the time spent navigating the internet, action that invites the creation of an agenda of activities with disconnecting moments and to look for a balance between the activities that involve the use of technology and direct interpersonal relationships (Aguaded y Romero, 2015; Sieberg, 2011).


Protection of the surrounding involves awareness rising towards the impact generated by the ICTs in the environment. This leads to take an informed position in order to consider positive and negative aspects. It also integrates the implementation of good practice for the use of technology in an everyday life, such as taking measurements to safe energy and to optimize time of online consumption. Handling electronic devices and consumables go from taking a decision of purchase to disposable and recycling actions (Bekaroo, Bokhoree & Pattinson, 2016).




Is it a combined survey supported on an online questionnaire and individual semi-structured interviews to 62 university students (74% women and 26% men, from which 97% were between 18 to 25 years old), they were located in a coastal region of the state of Oaxaca. To elaborate the questionnaire, we took as base the self diagnosis IKANOS test, a project on digital skills of the Basque Institute of Qualifications and Professional Training (2014), which derives from the Common Frame of Digital Skills, that considers five areas: Information, communication, content development, safety and problem solving (Ferrari, 2013; INTEF,2014). It is important to make clear that only the results of the fourth area of digital skills, safety, were considered.


In reference to the analysis and interpretation of questionnaire results, the questions regarding skills and device and personal data protection were done with dichotomous reply options, with a nominal variable. Results lead to determine percentage frequencies. Regarding the health and environment protection topic, we worked with scale variables which caused the assessment of the average of eleven items, preceded by the alfa reliability analysis of Cronbach, which reported a good level of reliability (.927). The reply scale was of 10 grades, where 1 meant not to know or not to be able to perform the action described by the item and 10 meant to have the knowledge or be able to perform the action.


For the analysis and interpretation of data, we applied descriptive statistics supported by the SPSS-22 version software. It is important to mention that with the aim to enrich survey results, we performed individual semi-structured interviews with a convenient sample of thirty informants that answered the questionnaire online. For this, we designed a set of questions, which answers were processed with Atlas.ti software version 7, and key aspects of safety were identified as a result of the codification of information.




In order to analyze safety practices, getting to know the using habits of university students was necessary. Regarding devices, 94% use desktop computer and a laptop, followed by 77% that use an intelligent phone or smartphone, 18% use a tablet and 29% do not have internet connection at home. A big proportion, 74% connects daily to the internet and accesses basically from a personal computer (PC), and 63% from a portable one; 16% point out that depending on moment and situation they choose the device, in certain cases,13% from the smartphone, and 5% from the tablet. The most frequent place of connection is at home, 63% followed by 19% in an Internet café or public areas. Among the uses of internet, 98% search information for a personal or professional use; 84% use social networks with personal purposes or professional ones; 81% for sending and receiving mail, 74% use it for listening to music and for watching online movies, as well as a 71% that use it for instant messaging.


Device protection


When using the internet and digital devices, 84% say that they act carefully when they receive messages from a sender, content or attached file that are unknown (spam). They say that if they doubt the information or it is new, they should verify it. They block suspicious pages or install programs to counteract the risk of cyber attacks or espionage, subject mentioned by IGF Spain (2015). Most of them, 77% have an antivirus installed which they run and update regularly. A lower percentage, 69% use different passwords to gain access to their devices and digital services, and these are changed periodically through strategies for their management.


Also, 58% often verifies the configuration and safety systems of their devices and applications. Because of the use of external devices, such as the memory stick, they perform a scan of these instruments to avoid damaging the working equipment, and they have the culture of using information backups and the use of extensions when they navigate the internet, as we can see in this declaration: “I use antivirus programs, and I also verify the information and computer memories that I am going to put into the electronic device in use”. Other participant mentioned: “I have a backup for everything and I protect my devices, I do not register my passwords”. 39% periodically change their security codes for their wireless network or access key of their installed Wi-Fi station within a time they consider appropriate; a minority of 29% knows about and uses protection systems of wireless connections, in the face of clandestine accesses or listening, (see chart 2).


Chart 2. Scale on device protection



Act carefully when they receive messages from a sender, content or attached file that are unknown (spam).



Install an antivirus that runs and updates regularly.



Use different passwords to gain access to devices and digital services, and changed them periodically.



Verification of configuration and safety systems of devices and applications.



Periodically change security codes for wireless network or access key of installed Wi-Fi station at home, workplace or school.


Knowledge and use of protection systems of wireless connections, in the face of clandestine accesses or listening.




According to Hall (2016), we see basic knowledge on protection mechanisms, such as the activation of an antivirus in the equipment used, password handling and password management for devices and digital tools. It is undeniable that there are campaigns to make the population aware on protocols of software safety, but, sometimes the lack of interest or knowledge could lead to ignore the configuration of devices and those suspicious activities that exist in the Web. 


On the other hand, the culture for setting safety codes and protection systems for wireless networks is minimal, which implies more work regarding cyber security. To look into this subject is more complex when the WiFi connection is done outside the home, especially in public areas where personal information is totally vulnerable. This will lead us to take decisions on the convenience of connecting outside the home, even if they are private networks. Meanwhile, safety measures taken at home should be oriented to identify the best practices to keep privacy safe and the optimization of the bandwidth before anybody that tries to use it without authorization.


Personal Data Protection


95 % of students use privacy functions available in applications, to approve or refuse who can have access to their profile. 92% only share their profile with their friends or contacts. 90% are conscious on how the information of their digital identity could be use by third parties and the risks that such thing implies. 90% said that during their interactions thru the Web they do not share private information. They know that not all things in the internet should be exposed, especially in social networks, because they have to maintain a certain level of privacy. 89% know and have in mind of the dangers and consequences of identity theft or any other wrongdoing. Some students choose to have two or more digital identities, in such a way that they could handle better their information. 86% are really cautious before giving away personal information such as their address, age, phone, banking data, credit card information, personal photographs, among other things, unless the application for the navigated site asks them for such information.


In the use of social networks, 86% add only people as friends if they really know them. 65% of the students, say they were able to identify those web pages or email messages where they could be scammed.  For greater protection, 65% are used to change their basic privacy configuration offered by online services they use. One of the students declared: "I block certain content, I set up filters to verify the information ahead and I limit myself when giving away personal data". The above described matches the arguments of Geller (2016), Lee (2014), as well as the things exposed by Martínez and Flores (2016) (see chart 3).


On the other hand, when doing transactions thru internet, only 58% verifies that a connection is secure and a page has a safety certificate issued by a trust worthy Certification Company. 42% ask information to their suppliers regarding the procedures of keeping and treating their personal data, as well as their privacy policies. Also, very few, 26% know about and consider the basic aspects established by regulations on computer safety for the protection of personal data in the internet. An interviewee reflected on the low level of protection he takes when navigating the Web: "I do not give away my personal data, but sometimes, in order to obtain certain information you have to give a phone number and in such case I have no idea how well my identity is protected".


Chart 3. Scale on personal data protection.



Use privacy functions available in applications, to approve or refuse who can have access to their profile.



Share their profile with their friends or contacts list.




Conscious on how the information of their digital identity could be use by third parties.




Not sharing private information.




Know and have in mind of the dangers and consequences of identity theft in internet (frauds for identity theft or other identity cards).




Act really cautious before giving away personal information (ID card, address, age, phone, banking data, credit card information, personal photographs, etc).




When using social networks they add only people as friends, if they really know them.




Are able to identify those web pages or mail messages where they could be scammed.





Modify their basic privacy configuration offered by online services they use, for greater protection.



When doing transactions and giving away important information thru internet, verifies that a connection is secure and a page has a safety certificate issued by a trust worthy certification company.



Ask information to their suppliers regarding the procedures of keeping and treating their personal data, as well as their privacy policies.




Know about and consider the basic aspects established by regulations on computer safety for the protection of personal data.



We sense a level of awareness regarding the risks to which they could be subject to as a result of personal information sharing. The results show that there is a lack of promotion of a data protection culture, even though there are a series of regulations on Web activities, there is the need to promote them a little bit more. To face nowadays’ unsafe situations, added to crimes committed at the Web, it is necessary to consider and extreme everyone’s precautions when using their personal data, due to the fact that the three main internet purposes are centered on information searching, social networks and the sending and receiving emails. If we add to this the lack of knowledge on safety protocols for electronic transactions, not only personal data is at risk but also the economic status. Because of the different strategies followed by cyber‒delinquents, it is necessary to identify the places where such wrongdoing actions are reported.  It is undeniable that the government has launched safety campaigns, but they have not yet had the necessary impact.


We identify an interest for personal data protection, young people try to take care of their personal information in the Web, but a large percentage does not know the policies of those online service providers in reference to the management of their personal data and the handling of their privacy. Regarding the configuration and safety systems in devices and applications, they perform basic activities such as modifying established configuration of online services (Lee, 2014; Martínez and Flores, 2016).


Health protection


In this area, we identified that all valuations were situated over the average of the scale of reply. The highest score refers to the knowledge of risks and consequences of cyberbullying (8.08), followed by the implementation of prevention mechanisms to avoid harassment through the Web (cyberbullying) (7.39); after that, the knowledge of the risks taken by the inappropriate use of technology regarding ergonomic and addictive factors (7.06); in fourth position, the implementation of preventive measures for health protection (6.55); and at the end, keep informed and updated of the health risks that could result from the use of ICTs, regarding physical or physiological wellbeing and talk about this matter with other people (6.05).


In some cases it was confirmed that the addiction was being fought: "I am really conscious on the addiction to social network use, but it is hard to overcome, what I do to fight that bad habit is reflect on the other important things I have to do and remind myself that I have different assignments". Others mentioned that there is a need to control the time, avoid the purchase of unnecessary devices and also avoid Web distracters; not to worry if there is no signal and perform activities without the use of technology. An statement worth noting is the following: "I avoid buying electronic devices that are not necessary, I limit myself to the one I use; I try to use devices the less possible, to avoid fatigue and illnesses" (see chart 4).


Chart 4. Scale on health protection




Knowledge of risks and consequences of cyberbullying.



Implementation of prevention mechanisms to avoid harassment through the Web (cyberbullying).



Knowledge of the risks taken by the inappropriate use of technology (ergonomic and addictive factors, etc).




The implementation of preventive measures for one’s health protection, and that of others, during the use of ICTs.




Keep informed and updated of the health risks that could result from the use of ICTs, regarding physical or physiological wellbeing and talk about this matter with other people.




Regarding physical health, some students use visual protectors, they practice some type of sport, put first their physiological needs during period of use, and take care of their personal hygiene, as well as their body position. Others consider they have comfortable equipment and furniture: "I use glasses when I work in the computer, I use a chair for my desk which allows me to be comfortable for a few hours, and I do not set aside my physiological needs while I am working in the computer. I manage my time and activities according to priorities during the day". In extreme situations, there are few statements that agreed not to protect their health properly. Results obtained showed that students are conscious of the impact of ICTs on their health, but there is work to do regarding media habits.


The subject of health integrates several sides: on one hand, it mentions cyberbullying but also refers to what it relates to internet addiction and physical problems originated by overexposure to ICTs. These two last subjects catches the attention of the young adult when he questions his health and reflects on the physical illnesses that could generate an overexposure of electronic devices, such as pain and muscular discomfort, hearing  injuries, overweight or obesity problems due to physical inactivity, affectations to the nervous system and eye diseases, among others. On the other hand, the nomophobia and the FOMO syndrome, two subjects related to the use of social Web, invite to question about the experiences of the millennials related to the result of a long permanence on the cyberspace. Therefore, considering media habits implies the adoption of disconnection periodical practices, a needed action in the development of digital skills. Finally, the utilitarian value of a device with internet should not be related to marketing strategies that encourage technology dependency (Abel, Buff & Burr, 2016; Sieberg, 2011; Serrano-Puche, 2012; Wąsiński & Tomczyk, 2015).


Environment Protection


Now, as regards to environment protection, the issues with greater rating were: the systematic application of basic measures for energy saving (7.66); knowledge on the impact of ICTs on daily life for online consumption and the environment (6.94).

Among the lowest ratings (4.87) was the recycling of obsolete and used elements of ICTs, as well as the participation in working Web groups for obsolete and used elements of ICTs or the use of social networks to act, mobilize, protest, inform, create awareness and share and contribute with ideas on sustainability (4.81) (see chart 5).


Gaps are observed regarding environment protection. Some millennials state having few notions or none, regarding this problematic: "I know little about the subject, but I am aware that with the use of a simple computer I cause damage". There is awareness of the use of technology, especially in regards to energy saving. An interviewee mentioned: "I do not know if they affect directly, but I am aware of the use of electric power". Another declaration worth mentioning is the following:


All types of technology affect the environment to some extent, for example, the manufacturing of such devices uses materials that after finishing their service life and are discarded, contaminate with their substances or chemicals, but also the ICTs are good to pass information regarding the proper care and protection to our surrounding environment. 


Some they only recommend to use the necessary technology. Other issues that needed to be reinforced are technology recycling and green technologies. A student stated: "Few times I think about this matter".


Chart 5. Standard on environment protection







Systematic application of basic measures for energy saving.




Knowledge on the impact of ICTs on daily life for online consumption and the environment.



Understanding the concept of Green IT (green technologies).



The use of remote/virtual systems of communication/collaboration (video‒conference, tele‒meetings, etcetera) to avoid transportation costs, fuel, etcetera, inherent to face‒to‒face communication. 



Recycling of obsolete and used elements of ICTs (electronic and software components, toners, etcetera), placing them in proper places.



Participation in working Web groups for obsolete and used elements of ICTs or the use of social networks to act, mobilize, protest, inform, create awareness as well as to  share and contribute with ideas on sustainability (crowdsourcing).




The lack of knowledge and motivation regarding environmental issues are crucial factors for environment protection. When you address this kind of problems, the actions noticed had more to do with the reduction of energy consumption. To create awareness on green technologies means to educate young people on the impact that ICTs have on the ecosystem. It is not very usual to relate sustainability within safety skills, but when we see the dimension of the implications of being and sharing safe areas, it goes beyond individuals, it also involves the place where it is developed (Bekaroo, Bokhoree & Pattinson, 2016; Suryawanshi & Narkhede, 2015).





Analyze computer safety through the four skills (device, personal data, health and environment protection) takes us to reflect on the habits when using technology, especially habits that are internet related.  With the bursting of social Web, it is common for digital tools to appear in order to help with special needs of the internet user and that could be installed in different devices. Added to this, there are the marketing strategies to commercialize equipments that revolutionize their usage. This entire digital atmosphere encourages, especially young people, to be at the vanguard. To put value to technology impact in everyday life, invites us to consider multi‒literacy, meaning the outline of knowledge, abilities and attitudes towards the empowerment and social participation in aspects that contribute to the development of more sustainable practices (Area, 2010).


Statistics regarding habits on internet consumption should stop centering in recreation and communication; it is necessary to promote new ways of learning in the Web; which invites to rethink on the main motives for someone to connect. There is no need to demonize the internet as a space that causes addiction, but there is the need to value its influence and the reasons of its usage; this is what determines its advantage.


Good practices regarding safety should start from decision taking when purchasing equipment, in such a way that people obtain what is necessary and they are not taken by marketing strategies. Also, to anticipate the implementation of programs to protect devices, together with password configuration and management. In relation to digital tools, we have to consider that use of personal data and privacy policies, together with a responsible management of a digital identity (INTEF, 2014).


On the other hand, it is important to take into consideration things related to privacy policies and handling of personal data used by technology service companies. Nowadays, each time that digital tools are revolutionized, new criteria for user registration are established.  This raises the question of how much companies protect digital identity of the internet user or it is only a utopia within the technology market (Lee, 2014).


In the health area, there is a fundamental question that rises: what are the motivations to stay connected? This question goes together with the position taken by social networks, areas where young people stay most of their time due to the practical way to connect from a mobile phone, and also the need of the individual to connect and participate in social networks. It is a must to valuate social networks from two sides: a surrounding that promotes participation and empowerment of society and the space to socialize, which comes with a mask for solitude emptiness and the need for personal recognition. These things that are part of what is happening in the Web could be one of the determining factors that put in danger not only emotional health but also physical health.

The above invites to reflect on the arguments of Bauman (2005) related to the uncertainty and increasing feeling of insecurity triggered by technological upgrading. It is important to question if such transformation process of society is happening by its own or under pressure. Social abilities suffer a weakening within real people interactions ever since the possibility of connectivity. In the virtual world there is a search of mechanisms that promote healthy atmospheres for relationships. Such is the case of tagging or conduct codes appeared at the Web.


As a result, direct interpersonal relationships should not be replaced by virtuality. Even though millennials were born in a world of technology, they have to fulfill social needs of physical presence. Among the challenges of the XXI Century, a culture of healthy media habits should be planned. Such is the impact of the use of internet through a mobile phone that, some areas where people come together have started to limit its use (Aguaded and Romero, 2015; Serrano-Puche, 2012; Sieberg, 2011).


It is worth mentioning that regarding safety issues not only the protection of the user and his devices are important, but also the protection of the natural environment. There is an invitation to be aware when purchasing devices and also the use of digital tools, in order to promote environment care and the use of green technologies.


Finally, looking into the digital safety issue, which is a very large one, we cannot only see instrumental factors that show good practices of the use of ICTs, but also physiological and social factors. This matter invites to look into future research lines, like the one on the balance that has to exist between the use of the social Web and healthy media habits for the millennials. Also, there is the need to assess the phenomenon of big data in relation to personal data protection.




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Received: 21/05/2016

Published: 05/07/2016


[1]Quality Management Professor. Researcher and Professor of the Tourism Institute of the Universidad del Mar, campus Huatulco, Oaxaca, Mexico.

[2] Doctorate in Management Science. Professor at the Management School of the Universidad Veracruzana, Veracruz, Mexico.

[3] Doctorate in Educational Environment and Systems. Professor at the Management and Accounting School of the Universidad Veracruzana, campus Ixtac, Veracruz, Mexico.

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Apertura vol. 16, núm. 1, abril - septiembre 2024, es una revista científica especializada en innovación educativa en ambientes virtuales que se publica de manera semestral por la Universidad de Guadalajara, a través de la Coordinación de Recursos Informativos del Sistema de Universidad Virtual. Oficinas en Av. La Paz 2453, colonia Arcos Sur, CP 44140, Guadalajara, Jalisco, México. Tel.: 3268-8888, ext. 18775, www.udgvirtual.udg.mx/apertura, apertura@udgvirtual.udg.mx. Editor responsable: Dr. Rafael Morales Gamboa. Número de la Reserva de Derechos al Uso Exclusivo del Título de la versión electrónica: 04-2009-080712102200-203, e-ISSN: 2007-1094; número de la Reserva de Derechos al Uso Exclusivo del Título de la versión impresa: 04-2009-121512273300-102, ISSN: 1665-6180, otorgados por el Instituto Nacional del Derecho de Autor. Número de Licitud de Título: 13449 y número de Licitud de contenido: 11022 de la versión impresa, ambos otorgados por la Comisión Calificadora de Publicaciones y Revistas Ilustradas de la Secretaría de Gobernación. Responsable de la última actualización de este número: Sergio Alberto Mendoza Hernández. Fecha de última actualización: 22 de marzo de 2024.