Summer vacation might be the perfect time to cure our phone addiction, but a new study suggests we are not too eager to leave our beloved devices behind.
Intel Security released a study on Tuesday where they asked nearly 14,000 people around the world how well they stay away from their devices during vacation time. The results showed that nearly half (49 percent) of Americans just can't manage to unplug from their work emails. Men seemed more willing to make the break, with 57 percent saying they plan to disconnect compared with 44 percent of women.
While America is divided on whether "being unplugged" means no internet usage at all or simply not making any phone calls, the results of who could live without a phone for a few days were quite surprising.
Intel found that 49 percent of millennials said they could stay away from their devices during vacation while only 37 percent of the 40 to 50 age group said they could do so. The study also acknowledges the potential risks of staying online while away from home.
Most social media platforms allow users to post from anywhere around the world as long as there is internet. The problem is that some platforms, such as Facebook, can also reveal your exact location while posting a picture or new status, giving valuable information to cyber criminals who might be watching your every move.
"Consumers rely on technology to stay connected to their physical and digital worlds - whether at work, home or on vacation," said Gary Davis, chief consumer security evangelist at Intel Security. "As a result, it's crucial to impart safe digital habits to help consumers stay more secure when traveling."
And social media is not the only way cybercriminals can get information. Any unprotected device, including laptop computers and wearables, can share important data on your whereabouts. To stay away from such problems, Intel recommends avoiding connecting to unsecured Bluetooth and Wi-Fi networks.
And if not using your phone isn't an option, make sure to have a phone locator app installed to locate your device in case it gets stolen. You can also add extra layers of security with strong passwords, a PIN, and use your fingerprints as a lock.
Being connected is a tough habit to break from, as the survey reports 55 percent of the respondents who planned on disconnecting were unable to do so. But the study found other benefits to unplugging. Sixty-five percent of survey participants said they were able to better enjoy their time away from home after disconnecting, while 51 percent of those unplugged reported they connected better with travel partners during that time.
So, if you are planning a vacation, do yourself a favor and take a vacation from your electronics as well.