Practicing safe computing: Message framing, self-view, and home computer user security behavior intentions

With its global reach and pervasiveness, the Internet enables individuals to be more connected through electronic linkages than ever before. In such a highly inter-dependent network, individual behaviors can have far-reaching consequences that transcend borders between people, organizations and nations. Because home computer users represent a weak link in securing
cyberspace, it is critical that they be reached and motivated to consistently practice recommended security behavior so that we can continue to rely on the availability of information provided by the Internet, the capability to conduct e-Commerce transactions, and to communicate with people around the world. Drawing on the marketing and economics literatures, the purpose of this study is to examine potential message manipulations in an effort to determine which manipulations are most likely to be effective at increasing home computer users’ intentions to perform the desired security behavior. We manipulated individuals’ goal frames (promotion versus prevention goal frame) and self-views (independent versus. interdependent self-view) in an experimental setting with 101 subjects and examined their independent and interactive effects on subjective and descriptive norms related to home security behaviors. We further investigated the effects of these norms on intentions to practice safe computing. The findings and implications are discussed.