Michael Litt: The misunderstandings and misconceptions surrounding our digital industries are killing our economic potential to move ahead as a nation
So much for getting away from it all. A new study shows half of Canadians say they check their office emails while travelling on vacation. Of those, 24 per cent say they do so at least once, if not several times, each day.
The results were gathered in a survey of Canadian travellers by Allianz Global Assistance Canada, a leading provider of travel insurance and assistance services, which asked Canadians about their travel habits.
The Ipsos survey also revealed that men are the most likely to check their work emails, with 54 per cent responding affirmatively versus 44 per cent of women. However, the greatest differences were associated with age. Some 72 per cent of Millennials say they check their work emails while on vacation, compared with 42 per cent of GenXers and 32 per cent of Baby Boomers.
When asked if they chronicled their trip on social media, 44 per cent of Canadians answered ‘yes,’ led by Millennials at 67 per cent, followed by GenXers at 48 per cent and Boomers at just 22 per cent.
Exaggerated Vacation Pics
“Posting vacation photos is not entirely unexpected, but it was surprising to learn from the study that nearly three in 10 Canadians (27%) admit to posting photos that make their vacation look better than it actually is,” says Dan Keon, Vice President, Market Management, Allianz Global Assistance Canada. “Once again, Millennials led the way with 50 per cent of them admitting they post ‘better-than-reality’ photos compared to 26 per cent of GenXers and only 7 per cent of Boomers.”
A similar survey was conducted in the summer of 2018 by Allianz Global Assistance USA, and a comparison seems to indicate that Canadians may be more deceptive with their vacation posts. While 50 per cent of Canadian Millennials admitted to deceptive posts, only 36 per cent of American Millennials claimed they did so, while 26 per cent of Canadian GenXers said they post better-than-reality photos, only 15 per cent of American GenXers claimed they did the same.
“This is the third year for our Winter Vacation Confidence Index, but the first time we have polled Canadians about their use of social media while travelling,” adds Keon. “Beyond capturing and sharing amazing travel memories, our smartphones are a valuable aid in a travel emergency. Our assistance centre in Kitchener, ON, receives approximately two million calls every year from Canadian travellers in need of medical or travel assistance. Having your smartphone available while travelling makes it that much easier to reach us if an emergency unexpectedly arises. Travellers with smartphones can also benefit from our free TripWise app, which provides users with a number of helpful features including phone numbers for local emergency services, a GPS locator for nearby medical providers, flight status tracker, and more.”
The findings of the Canadian Winter Vacation Confidence Index are the result of an Ipsos poll conducted on behalf of Allianz Global Assistance Canada. A total of 2,005 surveys were completed among Canadian adults between October 23 and October 29, 2018. A survey of this size is considered accurate within plus-or-minus 2.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
Allianz Global Assistance (Canada)
For 30 years, Allianz Global Assistance has supported travelling Canadians when they need it most with value-added travel insurance and assistance services. More than 800 employees support long-term partnerships with some of the best known brands in the travel and financial services markets. Allianz Global Assistance also serves as an outsource provider for in-bound call centre services and claims administration for health insurers, property and casualty insurers and credit card companies. Allianz Global Assistance is a specialist brand of Allianz Partners for assistance and travel insurance, and is a registered business name of AZGA Service Canada Inc. and AZGA Insurance Agency Canada Ltd. For more information, visit www.allianz-assistance.ca.
Dedicated to bringing global protection and care, Allianz Partners is the B2B2C leader in assistance and insurance solutions in the following areas of expertise: assistance, international health & life, automotive and travel insurance. These solutions, which are a unique combination of insurance, service and technology, are available to business partners or via direct and digital channels under four commercial brands: Allianz Assistance, Allianz Care, Allianz Automotive and Allianz Travel.
This global family of over 19,000 employees is present in 78 countries, speaks 70 languages and handles 54 million cases per year, protecting customers and employees on all continents.
For more information, please visit: www.allianz-partners.com.
SOURCE Allianz Global Assistance Canada
Most Canadians will be enjoying an extra hour of sleep this weekend as clocks ‘fall back’ to daylight standard time. However, the extra morning light means dusk comes sooner making the afternoon drive riskier for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists.
Time-changes are known as a dangerous period for pedestrian and cycling injuries and fatalities. In autumn, it becomes riskier for pedestrians and cyclists to travel between 4:30 and 7 p.m. as they and drivers adjust to lower light visibility. A Carnegie Mellon University study found pedestrians were three times more likely to be killed in traffic collisions after the fall switch.
Desjardins Insurance promotes education and awareness to help keep road users of all ages safe, including the most vulnerable: pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists. According to the latest national survey from Desjardins Insurance, almost two thirds of Canadians say that pedestrians, cyclists and motorists all have a roll to play to ensure safety on our roads.
3 out of 10 respondents admitted to texting while walking near a public road, which is cause for concern, but for Canadians aged between 16 and 24 that number jumps to 6 out of 10 (61%). For jaywalking, 47% of 16-24-year-olds reported doing so compared to the average of all age groups at 38%, and when it comes to wearing headphones and listening to music near a public street, 57% of 16-24-year-olds admitted to doing so compared to the average of 26%.
When asked ‘Who is responsible for pedestrian and cyclist safety on the road?’, a majority (64%) believe it is the responsibility of all parties (cyclists, pedestrians and drivers) to ensure they are obeying traffic laws, being courteous to others and not walking or driving while distracted.
Respondents also stated that municipal governments have a responsibility in ensuring road safety (56%) with 72% indicating that city planning, and updated infrastructure play an essential role in keeping pedestrians and cyclists safer.
Since 2008, Desjardins has partnered with Parachute (www.parachutecanada.org) to bring more awareness to transport-related incidents, one of the leading causes of injury and death in Canada. Each year 2000 Canadians are killed and 165,000 are injured using our roads. Parachute is committed to reducing these incidents to zero by adopting the strategies of Vision Zero. (www.parachutevisionzero.ca).
Desjardins Insurance sponsored the following fact sheet compiled by the Traffic Injury Research Foundation (www.tirf.ca) which examines the degree of fatalities among young vulnerable road users in Canada from 2000 to 2010 – http://tirf.ca/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/Young-Vulnerable-Road-Users-5.pdf
About the Survey
The online survey, conducted in March 2018, polled 3,020 respondents of driving age across Canada.
Desjardins Group is the leading cooperative financial group in Canada and the fifth largest cooperative financial group in the world, with assets of $290.1 billion. It has been rated one of the Best Employers in Canada by Aon Hewitt. To meet the diverse needs of its members and clients, Desjardins offers a full range of products and services to individuals and businesses through its extensive distribution network, online platforms and subsidiaries across Canada. Counted among the world’s strongest banks according to The Banker magazine, Desjardins has one of the highest capital ratios and credit ratings in the industry.
Parachute is Canada’s national charity dedicated to reducing the devastating impact of preventable injuries. Injury is the No. 1 killer of Canadians ages 1 to 44, where one child (0-19 years) dies every nine hours. The financial toll is staggering, with injury costing the Canadian economy $27 billion a year. Through education and advocacy, Parachute works to save lives and create a Canada free of serious injuries. For more information, visit us at parachutecanada.org and follow us on Twitter Facebook Instagram and LinkedIn.
SOURCE Desjardins Group
By Barbara Ortutay
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
NEW YORK _ When Facebook bought Instagram for $1 billion in 2012, it seemed like a big gamble for an unproven little app. Six years later, that little app _ along with Messenger and WhatsApp are serving as Facebook’s safety net for a future that could find its flagship service on the sidelines.
Sure, Facebook reigns in social media today, and this is not likely to change soon. Still, amid the company’s seemingly endless troubles over elections meddling, misinformation, privacy lapses, hacking and hate speech, the idea that Facebook may not always be on top has begun to take hold.
“Facebook could collapse,” said David Kirkpatrick, who wrote a 2010 book on Facebook’s early history.
In an interview, he said the elections manipulations issue “could get so terrifying that advertisers could start to back away. That’s nowhere near happening now, but it could happen.”
That is, as Facebook stops being a virtual watercooler for friendly conversation, but a lair for trolls and misinformation _ advertisers might find the service too dangerous to showcase laundry detergent and shoes.
For now, Facebook is a social and advertising powerhouse. It has 2.23 billion users, a number that’s still growing at a healthy pace outside of the U.S. Wall Street analysts project Facebook’s 2018 revenue will top $55 billion. While the company doesn’t break out revenue among its apps, eMarketer estimates that Instagram will bring in 16 per cent of Facebook’s advertising revenue this year and 25 per cent by 2020. (The research firm does not have estimates for Messenger ads, which are still new and nascent, and WhatsApp, which doesn’t have ads yet.)
“It really speaks to the fact that advertisers love Instagram,” eMarketer analyst Debra Aho Williamson said. “It has the appeal of being a generally positive environment.”
In fact, Instagram is becoming the top social media service for many brands to interact with consumers, said Yuval Ben-Itzhak, CEO of the social media marketing firm Socialbakers. So even though these companies are reaching a smaller audience than Facebook, these people are “engaging,” or interacting, a lot more with the advertisers, he said.
Facebook is working hard to ensure that Messenger and later, WhatsApp, become viable businesses as well. On Tuesday, Facebook announced plans to make its Messenger app simpler and easier to use. But the redesign also makes it clear that messages from businesses _ and ads _ are becoming increasingly important. Such messages are now front and centre alongside messages with friends and other individuals.
The new Messenger features a “dark mode” that lets people switch to white text on a black background. It has fewer “tabs” or words and icons to tap to get to different sections in the app. The previous version had nine, including “messages,” ”active” to show ongoing conversations, ”groups,“ ”games“ and a ”discover“ icon to find bots to chat with for everything from the weather to horoscopes to shopping. The new version has just three: ”chats,“ ”people“ and ”discover“ to connect with businesses, follow the news or play games.
Stan Chudnovsky, head of product for messaging at Facebook, said the primary intent wasn’t to elevate messaging with businesses. But he said that “when people spend more and more time communicating with each other on a platform, inevitably that is where businesses need to be. It’s almost like print happened and then businesses needed to be on print.”
Facebook, of course, is working hard to nudge people and businesses in this direction, convincing them that chatting on Messenger is more efficient than, say, emailing, calling or tweeting at an airline, a clothing store or even your bank.
One thing Facebook has always understood is the importance of human connections and interaction. Chudnovsky considers one-on-one communications a “basic human need.” Considering that people use Messenger, and not the main Facebook service, for such interactions, does this mean Messenger is more important than Facebook?
“We don’t take a position on what is more important,” Chudnovsky said.
Still, considering that people no longer need a Facebook account to use Messenger, maybe some day it will be. After all, people (especially younger ones) are using Facebook less frequently, even as they flock to Instagram and its messaging services. A Pew Research Center study recently found that just over half of teens use Facebook, while 72 per cent use Instagram.
“The idea has always been not to replace Facebook, but to add to it,” said Nate Elliott, head of the market research firm Nineteen Insights. “But now that Facebook’s reputation has taken a beating, I’m sure that they see it as a very nice insurance policy.”
By Barbara Ortutay
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
NEW YORK _ Today’s teens are constantly on their smartphones, many check social media “constantly” and prefer texting over face-to-face communication.
But a new poll finds that these same teens also say that social media has a positive effect on their lives, helping them feel more confident, less lonely and less depressed.
The poll was released Monday by Common Sense Media, a San Francisco-based non-profit group focused on kids’ use of media and technology. It found that 89 per cent of teenagers have their own smartphone. That’s up from 41 per cent in 2012, the last time the survey was conducted.
But while 2012’s teens were all over Facebook, the age group’s presence on the social network has plummeted in the past six years. Only 15 per cent of teens now say Facebook is their main social network. In 2012, 68 per cent did.
Today, 44 per cent of teens say their primary social network is Snapchat, making it the most popular social media app, followed by Instagram (which is owned by Facebook) at 22 per cent.
Among the survey’s other findings:
_ The majority of teens 59 per cent said social media makes no difference in how depressed they feel. Twenty-nine per cent, meanwhile, said it makes them feel less depressed and 11 per cent said it makes them more depressed. Thirty-nine per cent said it makes them feel less lonely and 13 per cent, more lonely.
_ Thirty-five per cent of teens said texting is their favourite way to communicate with friends, compared with 33 per cent in 2012. Only 32 per cent said talking in person is their preferred method of communication, down from 49 per cent among 2012 teens.
_ Almost three-quarters of teens said they believe that tech companies manipulate people into spending more time on their devices and more than half said using social media often distracts them from homework.
_ Sixty-four per cent of teen social-media users said they come across racist, sexist or homophobic or other hateful content either sometimes or often.
_ Sixteen per cent of teens use social media “almost constantly,” while 19 per cent never do.
_ Thirteen per cent of teenagers said they have been cyberbullied. Nearly a quarter, meanwhile, has tried to help a person who has been cyberbullied by talking to them or reporting it to an adult.
_ More than half said parents worry too much about social media on the other hand, 46 per cent think parents would be a lot more worried if they knew what “actually happens” online.
The survey was conducted in March and April among 1,141 13- to 17-year-olds nationwide. The margin of error is 3.4 percentage points.
By Peter Rakobowchuk
THE CANADIAN PRESS
MONTREAL _ An insurance and legal expert says texters could be held liable for any damages if they message someone they know is driving and that person has an accident.
“There’s an increasing public safety issue of operators of vehicles who are distracted while driving,” lawyer Jordan Solway said in a recent interview.
“And if you contribute in the same way as if you’re in the vehicle, and you interfere with their driving of the vehicle, you could be held responsible for that injured third party.”
Solway, vice-president of claim at Travelers Canada, pointed to a New Jersey court ruling from 2013 that said the sender of a text who causes a driver to become distracted and have an accident may be held liable.
The case involved an 18-year-old driver’s girlfriend who texted him about 25 seconds before his pickup truck crossed a median and seriously injured a motorcyclist and his wife. Both bikers lost their left legs as a result of the 2009 accident.
Solway said there have been no similar cases in Canada yet, but he believes it’s just a matter of time.
He compares it to what happens when a bar owner or the host of a party has to take responsibility for someone who is drinking, becomes intoxicated and gets into a vehicle.
“It’s analogous you’re putting someone in a position where they could cause harm to themselves or a third party,” Solway said.
Travelers Canada also commissioned a recent online survey that delved into what may be distracting drivers.
The No. 1 reason may not be surprising.
Thirty-one per cent said it was because they have family obligations that require constant attention. By gender, 40 per cent of females gave that reason, while it was 23 per cent among males.
In Quebec, 23 per cent cited family obligations, while in Ontario the figure was 41 per cent.
When it came to other reasons, 27 per cent said they didn’t want to miss something important, another 14 per cent said they always wanted to be available for work and eight per cent said they were afraid of upsetting the boss if they didn“t answer.
“I think it’s a (consequence) unfortunately of living in a highly connected world where, if someone doesn’t respond immediately to an email or a text, your concern is they are ignoring you,” Solway noted.
The Harris Poll was conducted March 9-12 and involved 948 Canadian drivers aged 18 and over.
An Insurance Bureau of Canada spokesman says companies must implement policies to discourage drivers from texting _ and individuals who may be texting them _ while they are on the road.
“The aspect of determining liability or fault in cases lke that would rest with the courts,” Pete Karageorgos said in an interview.
“It has to be a whole host of instances in terms of not just the act of texting, but also the act of reading the text or responding or having that phone in your hand.”
He said some insurers are seeing more instances of rear-end-type collisions which typically happen when the driver in the back isn’t paying attention.
“It’s a concern that we share as an industry because that will impact premiums,” Karageorgos added.
But Quebec’s automobile insurance board provided some encouraging statistics involving drivers who violated the law, which prohibits the use of a hand-held device while driving.
The highest number was in 2013 when there were close to 68,000 infractions, including 19,000 that involved drivers between the ages of 25 and 34.
But in 2016, the overall total dropped to 46,369. For the 25-34 age group, it decreased to just more than 14,000
The lowest number was in 2008 when there were about 18,250 violations.