The Role of Digital Skills in Promoting Online Privacy Literacy of Undergraduate Students at Razi University

Document Type : Original Article


1 PhD. Student, Department of Knowledge and Information Science, Faculty of Management, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran.

2 Associate Professor, Department of Knowledge and Information Science, Faculty of Social Sciences, Razi University, Kermanshah, Iran

3 Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology, Faculty of Social Sciences, Razi University, Kermanshah, Iran.


Purpose: In the age of the internet and with students' growing reliance on this interactive medium, coupled with the rise in cybercrimes that infringe upon individuals' privacy, online privacy literacy can serve as a crucial tool in mitigating such harms online. Several factors can contribute to enhancing this literacy. This study seeks to investigate the impact of digital skills on enhancing online privacy literacy among undergraduate students at Razi University in Kermanshah.
Method: The present research is of an applied type and was conducted using a survey method
The statistical population includes 7774 undergraduate students of Razi University in Kermanshah in 2018-2019. The sample size was determined to be 366 people using Morgan's table through a stratified random sampling method. Researcher-developed online privacy literacy and digital skills questionnaires were utilized to collect data. The validity and reliability of the questionnaires were confirmed through content validity methods and Cronbach's alpha coefficient, respectively. Additionally, descriptive and inferential statistics were employed to analyze the findings using SPSS software version 24.
Findings: The results showed that the online privacy literacy level of undergraduate students is lower than average. However, the students' digital skills level is moderate. Additionally, based on data analysis, digital skills have an impact factor of 0.49 on knowledge of the performance of online service providers, 0.29 on knowledge of information protection laws, 0.51 on knowledge of technical aspects of online privacy, 0.51 on technical skills, 0.40 on social skills, and 0.61 on the overall online privacy literacy scale. The study concludes that as digital skills increase, online privacy literacy and all its components also improve.
Conclusion: Due to the effectiveness of digital skills in enhancing online privacy literacy to uphold privacy on the Internet, it is imperative to provide the essential training and implement measures to enhance students' digital skills. This will elevate their security levels while using the Internet, consequently reducing numerous privacy risks and challenges they may encounter.


Adabi Firoozjah, H., Yamini Firooz, M. & Yamini Firooz, M. (2018). Study of the effect of digital literacy on increasing the academic level of physical education students (Case study: North Amol Non-Profit University). Epistemological Studies, 4(14): 117-135. [in persian]
Azizi, Z., Rahimi, S. & Ahmadi, V. (2021). Investigating the factors affecting the promotion of students' online privacy literacy. Journal of Studies in Library and Information Science. [in persian]
Bartsch, M. & Dienlin, T. (2016). Control your Facebook: An analysis of online privacy literacy. Computers in Human Behavior, 56: 147-154. https//
Beck, E., Goin, M.E., Ho, A., Parks, A. & Rowe, S. (2021). Critical digital literacy as method for teaching tactics of response to online surveillance and privacy erosion. Computers and Composition, 61(1): 102654.
Debatin, B. (2011). Ethics, privacy, and self-restraint in social networking. In: S. Trepte & L. Reinecke (Eds.), Privacy online (pp. 47–60). Berlin, Germany: Springer.
Farkhonia, R. & Lotfi, A. (2011). Investigating the effect of Internet cyberspace on fashion. Quarterly Journal of the Iranian Association for Cultural Studies and Communication, 7(22): 92-115.
[in persian]
Fathi, Y. & Shahmoradi, K. (2017). The scope and realm of privacy in cyberspace. Legal Law, 81(99): 229-252. https// [in persian]
Hosseini, A. (2017). Digital literacy and focal competencies with teachers' job performance. Master Thesis. Department of Educational Sciences, Faculty of Education and Psychology, Shahid Madani University of Azerbaijan. [in persian]
Hosseini, M.H. & Shakeri, M. (2016). Understanding the effect of E-learning on students' performance: The role of digital literacy studied: Master students of electronic courses at Payame Noor University of Mazandaran Province. In: 2nd International Conference on New Research in Management, Economics and Accounting, Kuala Lumpur-Malaysia, Leading Karin Institute.
[in persian]
International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (2017). IFLA Statement on Digital Literacy. August 18. Available at:
Jamshidi, M.J. (2017). Components and indicators of civil rights in the field of protection of personal information in cyberspace. Journal of Civil Rights Studies, 1(3): 87-112. [in persian]
Kazemi, H. & Haj Ismaili, F. (2015). The Digital Gap from Physical Access to Common Use: Explaining the Role of Digital Literacy and Skills and Motivational Access. World Journal of Media, 11(2): 180-197. [in persian]
Lee, J.Y. & Al khaldi, N. (2020). Exploring the ethical implications of new media technologies: A survey of online platform users’ digital literacy and its effects on digital trust and privacy awareness. Abstract from 70th Annual International Communication Association Conference (ICA 2020), Washington D.C., Washington, United States.
Litt, E. & Hargittai, E. (2014). A bumpy ride on the information superhighway: exploring turbulence online. Computers in Human Behavior, 36(1): 520-529. https//
Manafi, S. & Rezayatpour, Z. (2018). Privacy on social networks. Tehran: Atrat No. [in persian]
Masur, P.K., Teutsch, D. & Trepte, S. (2017). Entwicklung und Valdierung der Online-Privatheitskompetenzskala (OPLIS). Diagnostica. Available at:
Mirzaei, F., Sarrafzadeh, M. & Khandan, M. (2019). Content Framework for Teaching Digital Literacy to Public Library Users. Information research and public libraries, coming soon.
[in persian]
Mohseni, F. & Sufi-Zomorod, M. (2016). Police and the challenges of implementing cyber security. Journal of Research Police Science, 19(4): 163-188. [in persian]
Nelson, K., Courier, M. & Joseph, G.W. (2011). Teaching Tip: An Investigation of Digital Literacy Needs of Students. Journal of Information Systems Education, 22(2): 547-556.
Paine, C., Reips, U.-D., Steiger, S., Joinson, A. & Buchanan, T. (2007). Internet users’ perceptions of ’privacy concerns’ and ’privacy actions. International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, 65(6): 526-536. https//
Park, Y.J. (2013). Digital literacy and privacy behavior online. Communication Research, 40(2):
215-236. https//
Rahimi, S., Ahmadi, V. & Azizi, Z. (2020). The role and place of online privacy literacy in the protection of personal information. Security Research Quarterly, 19(69): 81-98.   
https// [in persian]
Rodríguez-de-Dios, I. & Igartua, J.J. (2016). Skills of Digital Literacy to Address the Risks of Interactive Communication. Journal of Information Technology Research, 9(1): 54–64.
Rotman, D. (2009). Are you looking at me? Social media and privacy literacy. Poster presented at the iConference, Chapel Hill, NC.
Sideri, M., Kitsiou, A., Tzortzaki, E., Kalloniatis, C. & Gritzalis, S. (2019). Enhancing University students’ privacy literacy through an educational intervention. A Greek case‐study. International Journal of Electronic Governance, 11: 333–360. https//
Siyasirad, F. & Bichranloo, A. (2017). Patterns of using online privacy literacy strategies; a case study of female Instagram users. Iranian Cultural Research Quarterly, 10(3): 125-151.            
https// [in persian]
Trepte, S. & et al. (2015). Do people know about privacy and data protection strategies? Towards
the ‘online privacy literacy scale’ (OPLIS).
In: Gutwirth, S., Leenes, R. & de Hert, P. (Eds), Reforming European Data Protection Law, Springer, Dordrecht: 333-365.  
Veghes, C., Orzan, M., Acatrinei, C. & Dugulan, D. (2012). Privacy literacy: what is and how it can be measured? Annales Universitatis Apulensis Series Oeconomica, 14(2): 704-712.
Weinberger, M., Bouhnik, D. & Zhitomirsky-Geffet, M. (2017). Factors affecting students’ privacy paradox and privacy protection behavior. Open Information Science, 1(1): 1-18.
Weinberger, M., Zhitomirsky-Geffet, M. & Bouhnik, D. (2017). Factors affecting users’ online privacy literacy among students in Israel. Online Information Review, 41(5): 655-671.       
Wills, C.E. & Zeljkovic, M. (2011). A personalized approach to web privacy: Awareness, attitudes and actions. Information Management & Computer Security, 19(1): 53-73.           
Wissinger, Ch.L. (2017). Privacy literacy: From theory to practice. Communications inInformation Literacy, 11(2): 378-389. https//