Older people trust smart gadgets less than kids, survey says

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The older you are, the less likely you are to trust technology — particularly smart home gadgets in our personal living spaces, according to a new study from an organization called SafeHome.

That might not seem like the most shocking finding, but the data in the survey offers a fascinating glimpse into how different generations balance the convenience of today’s gadgets against the privacy concerns they might also raise.

The data shows a clear generation shift that seems to start around age 45, when respondents began scoring various smart gadget categories as markedly “more bothersome” than younger respondents. Also interesting: smart thermostats scored pretty well across the board, perhaps due to longstanding familiarity with the benefits of programmable heating and AC controls.

Still, elder skepticism hasn’t stopped manufacturers from making devices aimed at older generations. Smart home platforms such as Lowe’s Iris offer dedicated eldercare modes for monitoring older relatives from afar with the help of cameras and motion sensors.

The Amazon Echo Show touchscreen Alexa device works with smart cameras, too, and even uses a camera of its own to let users make voice-activated video calls to their grandkids, or let loved ones “drop in” on their feed to see if things are OK.

There might be some wisdom there. One of the Safehome survey’s findings is that the devices people aged 65 and up were most comfortable with were security cameras — they scored better than social media, wearable tech, smart TVs and even antivirus software.

You can find the full results of the survey, which breaks down public privacy concerns by age, gender, and category, here.