Who’s afraid of the Internet?
Phishing, viruses and other threats can undermine your surf,
unless you slay them with some more awareness about that.

What are these dots about?

In 2012 only 50% of the Italian population used Internet, yet with lot of caution and unease. In this survey we’re going to show which are the threats people are usually afraid of, and how much and why they’re concerned about them.
The dots shown below represent how much Internet users in Italy are concerned about the potential threats of the Web.

Introducing the Fear Rank

The sample group is based on 2012’s National Institute of Statistic Family Survey; we focused on people 16+ who use Internet regularly. Each dot on the map (generated with Gephi) shows the intensity of concern—the FearRank—based on the amount of affirmative answers to the questions about concerns related to the Web. The size and the opacity of the dots are proportional to the intensity of the FearRank.

fear rank

  1. 1 (less fear)
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5
  6. 6 (more fear)

What do you fear?

Facing the concern of Italian Internet users

Surfing the Internet can involve lots of different activities with different purposes.
Six kinds of concerns have been mapped, involving areas such as personal data security, scams and kids safety.

A computer virus is a malware program designed to infect and compromise computers. Being infected can cause a big loss of data and time: 82% of records are worried about it. Although viruses don't represent a money or personal threat it is, yet, the most dreaded fear.

Viruses are the scariest threat

Spam is considered to be unsolicited e‑mails sent from electronic messaging systems. It generally consists in advertising for some product sent to a mailing list or newsgroup. Almost 68% of interviewed are concerned about e‑mail spam.

Spam is the most annoying

Privacy concerns exist wherever personally identifiable information or other sensitive data are collected and stored — in digital form or otherwise. Privacy is one of the biggest problems in this new electronic age.

Privacy takes the second place

Phishing has become one of the major issues in the recent times that have sent across an alarm for the Internet users. E‑mail or other form of communications are sent to stole credit card information, account details, usernames and password.

More than half of the interviewed are afraid of it

Threats in the Internet are not exclusively related to personal data. Using credit cards on the web without paying enough attention can lead to potential scamming risks — which means a very big loss of money without even notice. 56% of interviewed records are concerned about fraudolent use of credit cards.

Scam is the least scaring

Internet is easily accessible for everyone, especially for digital native children who are constantly in danger of finding inappropriated or unsuitable materials. 66% of interviewed are worried about kids safety on the web.

Women are the most concerned

Fear everywhere

We use Internet everyday, yet we are still afraid of it

56% of Italian population uses the Internet. Though there are lot of people who is regularly online, the level of fear is pretty high. What are the factors that influence this trend? At first glance there's a pattern based on geography — chart sideways — where South is clearly more worried than the North.
In the following visualizations we're going to observe in details how the location can influence the fear and what are the other factors of the level of concern.

The South feels the most

The chart below shows how the concern changes depending on the location, from North to South. Southern regions are generally more scared than the northern ones, with a common pattern for all the six different categories.






Kids Safety

Men and women feel differently

The chart below shows in detail both the geographic trend and the different
behaviour of men and women who stated that are very concerned about each fear.
Females are generally more concerned than males, with stronger gaps in central regions.

The more you study, the more you care about

The representation shows the link between the fear level and the educational level.
It is clear that the more you study, the more you fear each kind of threat.






Kids Safety


of people with
no educational
have no fear.


of people with
medium educational
have no fear.


of people with
high educational
have no fear.

Just a urban legend?

Fear doesn’t hinge on the experience

Italian are mostly scared of the web. First we looked for a meaning into the data related to what a human being is: gender, age, hometown and level of education. Now we're going deeper: how the experiences and the previous memories can influence the fear?
The chart below analyzes whether the concerning revealed in the previous charts come from already occurred experiences related to the very same threats, or it's just an assumed fear with no obvious connections.

Never happened

I know what I fear

A matter that becomes clear ceases to concern us.*

* Friedrich Nietzsche

Experience is not the key: no matter who you are or where you come from, nothing scares you more than something you don’t understand. This site is meant to be the starting point of an improved awareness of the threats you can find on the web. Internet is one of the most powerful tool we have nowadays, it is important to learn to use it and not to fear it.