Original Research

Factors affecting the adoption of personal safety apps among millennials in Johannesburg, South Africa

Anna Oksiutycz, Elizabeth Lubinga
SA Journal of Information Management | Vol 23, No 1 | a1246 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajim.v23i1.1246 | © 2021 Anna Oksiutycz, Elizabeth Lubinga | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 03 May 2020 | Published: 26 May 2021

About the author(s)

Anna Oksiutycz, Department of Strategic Communication, Faculty of Humanities, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa
Elizabeth Lubinga, Department of Strategic Communication, Faculty of Humanities, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa

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Background: Numerous studies around the world have examined how young people use digital technology however, few studies have addressed how mobile applications have been adopted in developing economies, such as South Africa, by millennials. Given that issues of personal safety are paramount in South Africa, which grapples with high levels of crime, it is necessary to explore factors that could affect the adoption of mobile safety applications. Theoretically, the study relies on the Generational Cohort Theory and the Technology Acceptance Model.

Objectives: This study identifies the factors affecting the adoption and use of mobile safety applications by the young generation in South Africa.

Method: A quantitative study by using a multiscale questionnaire was conducted among 203 tertiary students in Johannesburg, South Africa. Purposive, heterogeneous sampling was used in the study. An exploratory factor analysis was conducted to identify latent factors within the data.

Results: Results reveal that the majority of the respondents are not aware of any safety apps, but that they would use personal safety apps that are free, meet their daily needs and are recommended by peers. The key factors influencing the adoption of safety apps by college students in Johannesburg are credibility of the app, perceived utility of the app and safety experience.

Conclusion: Despite a high penetration of the South African Market by smart devices, the propensity of millennials to use technology in everyday life and high concern for personal safety, only 15% of respondents have adopted personal safety apps.


millennials; generation Y; smartphones; apps; personal safety applications; crime in South Africa


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