Be wary of "making money apps" becoming a digital trap for the elderly

[Bright Times Review]

  According to media reports, in recent years, eye-catching mobile applications such as earning money from watching videos, earning money from playing games, earning money from listening to music, earning money from walking, and earning money from sleeping have become new favorites in the eyes of many elderly people.

Under the banner of "earning everything", this kind of money-making App attracts many middle-aged and elderly netizens to download and participate with the lure of 10 yuan 8 yuan money-making benefits.

However, these elderly people seldom realize that when they are happy to use their mobile phones to complete the task of making money, they have become the target of hunting for bad technology companies and fall into the digital trap step by step.

  Using petty profits as a gimmick, attention-grabbing as a means, and compulsory advertising as the purpose, this is the first digital trap set by money-making apps for elderly netizens.

The temptation to monetize red envelopes and the purpose of stealing users' private information is the second digital trap.

Driven by interests, money making apps not only reward promises that are difficult to fulfill, but also try to record and analyze the digital behavior trajectory of the elderly by implanting apps.

In the name of making money easily, by means of data acquisition and algorithm training, and for the purpose of accurate push of advertising information, these bells and whistles are becoming the third digital trap set by some technology companies for the elderly.

  According to statistics, the number of elderly Internet users over 60 in my country has exceeded 110 million, making it the country with the largest number of elderly Internet users in the world.

With the acceleration of my country's aging, the number and proportion of elderly Internet users will continue to grow.

A report on the Internet life of middle-aged and elderly people, published by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, shows that Internet applications for middle-aged and elderly people mainly focus on information acquisition and communication. Free red envelopes are the easiest way for them to be deceived online. Among the deceived elderly netizens, the majority are those with middle and high incomes.

All kinds of money-making apps are aimed at the group characteristics of the elderly Internet users in my country, setting up numerous digital traps, and treating the elderly as a new round of traffic and capital harvesting targets.

In this regard, it is necessary for all relevant parties to cooperate and conduct timely governance.

  First of all, relevant regulatory authorities should speed up the construction of network security laws and regulations to provide institutional basis for the market access and operation supervision of network software applications.

On the one hand, it is necessary to continuously strengthen the national responsibility for the public's digital information security, implement the unified system and specifications for the protection of online public information security and mobile phone data security at the national level as soon as possible, and establish clear institutional thresholds for the use of various communication equipment, mini programs and apps. On the other hand, it is necessary to intensify the punishment of online fraud and information abuse. Through the anti-fraud big data information monitoring and online complaint platform, apps and small programs that have concentrated on the people’s complaints must not only be removed from the shelves, but also Moreover, its developers and operators shall be severely punished until the industry ban is implemented.

  Secondly, ICT companies and Internet platform companies should also establish and improve industry standards and supervision and correction mechanisms, strengthen prior and in-process supervision, and earnestly fulfill their industry responsibilities.

Smart phone and communication equipment R&D companies should exercise self-discipline in the design of the information security backdoor of the hardware port, especially the mobile phone smart devices for elderly users, and more emphasis on the encryption settings of mobile phone information security.

Leading platform companies must take the initiative to take the responsibility of self-checking and supervision, and timely establish anti-fraud big data basic resource library and illegal app negative list library, making it difficult for online fraud software and applications to gain a foothold on major public platforms, thereby making all types of Making money apps that violate regulations and laws cannot survive in the online ecosystem.

  The continuous improvement of the digital literacy of elderly netizens cannot be ignored. This requires the concerted participation of multiple forces such as administrative departments, social welfare organizations, communities, and families.

At present, the overall digital literacy level of the elderly Internet users in my country is not high. Most elderly people are basically at the level of information application of daily social software. Higher-level digital capabilities such as information identification, communication and expression, and network rights protection are generally lacking. This is also why they are easily affected. Various kinds of money-making App routines scams and subjective reasons why it is difficult to successfully defend rights after being scammed.

It is a long-term solution to effectively prevent elderly netizens from falling into the digital trap of bad program developers and to improve their digital literacy capabilities.

Only by helping them establish the necessary awareness of network knowledge and fraud prevention, and mastering the necessary digital life adaptability, can the group's "group immunity" against digital scams be formed.

  (Author: Yang Jianghua, Associate Professor, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Xi'an Jiaotong University)