Mount professor: U.S. students feel safer online than Spanish peers

Use of mobile technology more prevalent in U.S.
March 22, 2017

Stephen Cheskiewicz, Mount Saint Mary College assistant information technology professor. 


Mount Saint Mary College assistant professor of information technology, Stephen Cheskiewicz, said there is a stark difference in the way students in the United States and those from other parts of the world use technology.

Cheskiewicz’s talk, part of the Mount’s Investigating Research on Campus (iROC) series, touched on how U.S. student internet habits differ vastly from their Spanish peers. The data – taken from a study conducted in collaboration with Miquel Colobran from the Universtat Autonoma de Barcelona – examined student perceptions of Internet security.

Cheskiewicz and Colobran’s study is based on the answers provided by 1,600 college students from both countries.

“When we received the responses, we found that most of the U.S., students basically hit the click boxes, answering primarily only the closed ended questions. Every section had an open ended question at the end,” said Cheskiewicz. “Almost all of the Spanish students took the time to answer all the questions and provided thoughtful responses. They literally filled up the entire space we provided.”

When asked about what they consider to be the biggest online threats, the Spanish respondents indicated they were mostly concerned with issues such as cyberbullying and online predators. Americans, however, were far more concerned with issues that can lead to monetary damage, such as identity and credit card theft.

Cheskiewicz and Colobran found that while most of the students have similar devices at their disposal, the level of confidence in their proficiency varies significantly between the two countries. Cheskiewicz explained that most students in the survey consider themselves to be self-taught, however, a much larger percentage of Spanish students don’t consider themselves to be an expert when it comes to technology, while American students tended to feel much more confident in their skills.

Attitudes also differed in the students’ comfort level in posting information online, as well as the amount of time spent on their devices.

“While walking around Barcelona, one of the first things I noticed was that you didn’t see people walking in the streets on their phones, and you absolutely did not see it in restaurants,” said Cheskiewicz. “When I asked Miguel about it, he said no one uses their cell phone when out with friends. It’s considered very rude.”

Cheskiewicz and Colobran will be presenting their findings at the European Conference on Education (ECE2017) sponsored by the International Academic Forum (IAFOR) in Brighton & Hove in the United Kingdom in July. A book titled, “Com Preparar un Informe Percale” (“Making an Expert Report of a Computer Crime”) is being produced in Spain and will feature highlights from their study.