Most internet users blindly accept cookies

Gen Z is most likely to accept cookies, while baby boomers are the most cautious.

Overall, the vast majority of internet users accept cookies. Most – nearly 40% – say they do so blindly, according to a new survey from All About Cookies.

A quarter of users say they accept cookies after some research, while one in five accept only some. A mere 18% say they reject all cookies.

Cookies are small files that websites automatically create to authenticate users and accounts, collect analytic data, and personalize online ads – among other things.

While mostly harmless, it’s good practice to periodically clear cookies and the cache that stores them both in terms of privacy and performance.

While 74% of Americans know how to clear and disable cookies, 24% of people falsely believe they will be redirected or kicked off the website if they opt out.

Image by All About Cookies

The survey showed that most users have a mixed understanding of what cookies do. Offered four right answers and four wrong ones, only one in ten was able to identify all correctly.

One in two did not select a single correct one, while over half picked at least one wrong. The same number falsely believe that cookies will sign them up on mailing lists.

Other popular misconceptions, selected by at least one in ten respondents, include the belief that cookies will download files, inject viruses, or read what’s stored on their device.

All About Cookies

The study also reveals a generational divide when it comes to cookies. At 60%, millennials are most confident in their knowledge about cookies, as opposed to 45% among Gen Z and Gen X.

Also, baby boomers are twice as likely to reject cookies than any other generation, with 31% saying they do so. Just a little under one-third say they automatically accept cookies, the lowest among all generations.

By comparison, 47% of Gen Z respondents say they simply accept cookies without much thought.

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