CÓD.N08-S02-07-S01-67 ONLINE

Mind the technological gap: The use of ITCs amongst Italian Millennials in the pandemic era

Introduction: The COVID-19 pandemic has changed many aspects of daily life. Studying, working, even traveling or spending the free time, have taken on new forms and meanings. In this scenario, information and communication technologies have played a central role. They have made possible the realization of distance learning, remote working and virtual travel. Furthermore, the Internet has been considered by many people the main source for learning about the evolution and characteristics of the pandemic.

Aim: From a sociological point of view it is important to underline that in this already complex situation, new possible risks of exclusion are also emerging, which concern, in particular, the use of ITCs. Thus, the paper aims to investigate the question of the digital divide in the Italian context amongst Millennial people.

Methodology: The paper illustrates the main results of a quantitative survey that involved the carrying out of 500 interviews via CAWI aimed at detecting knowledge and computer skills of young Italians, belonging to the Millennial generation, but also their fears and concerns. In addition, to provide an overview of the data collected, the analysis privileged the gender dimension, in order to underline the existing differences between Italian men and women in terms of digital literacy and conscious use of the new technologies.

Discussion: In the social sciences, research on the digital divide was born in the nineties of the last century, limiting, in the social sphere, the phenomenon to the difference in access to technologies and new channels of information and communication amongst citizens. From the beginning, studies on social inequalities had highlighted that generally it was the strata of the population living in poorer socio-economic conditions that were the main protagonists of the digital divide, since they did not have the resources to dispose of the technologies, mainly due to their cost.

However, since the beginning of the new millennium, a profusion of technological devices has been registered on the market, with consequent lowering of prices. This has led to drastically reducing the digital divide in terms of owning the devices and it has encouraged an improvement of the access and use of the Internet. Nowadays, most citizens have at least one smartphone and are socialized to surf the net.

Results and conclusions: The survey has highlighted that the group of Italian Millennials is not homogeneous but contains within it different profiles related to the age and gender of its members. In the pandemic era, having a kit of skills to know how to select, manage and use the information present on the web, as well as being able to distinguish reliable sources from those that are not, creates a real rift between part of the competent population and those who access the network in an unconscious way.

Palabras clave

digital divide Internet italy millennials new technologies

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Salvatore Monaco

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    • profile avatar

      Ana Pérez-Escoda

      Comentó el 12/12/2020 a las 17:49:14

      Dear Salvatore,
      Congrats on your presentation, this is, no doubt a very accurate issue. Having in mind your results, which kind of profiles did you find among Italian millennials? Could you explain in more detail?
      Thank you very much indeed,
      All the best!
      Ana Pérez Escoda


      • profile avatar

        Salvatore Monaco

        Comentó el 13/12/2020 a las 20:18:17

        Dear Ana Pérez-Escoda, thank you for your question!
        within the group of Italian Millennials intercepted there are co-present different profiles that differ from each other for the frequency with which they use the Internet and their technological devices, for the digital skills possessed and for the attention paid to training on these issues.
        More specifically, men consider themselves more trained and competent than women.
        In particular,Italian Millennial men seem assiduous and aware users. They have declared feel at ease in moving between the different services offered by the web, from e-commerce to browsing the Internet, through streaming, and, not infrequently, they turn to professionals in case of difficulties or to increase their knowledge.
        As regards the female counterpart included in the sample, the interviewees are divided between those who make moderate use of new technologies and those who use them more intensely. In both cases, however, the propensity to update is low.
        To make the analysis of this aspect more complete, it is also useful to consider the age group: subjects who make moderate use of new technologies and define themselves as not very competent were mainly born between 1990 and 1997.
        It is interesting to note that subjects that make an intense use of ITCs, but have low competence are mainly the “younger ones”.


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      María Calzada Pérez

      Comentó el 09/12/2020 a las 23:30:49

      Interesting paper, Salvatore. It is a shame the sound was not very good. My question is in which way do you think training should go?
      Best and thanks for a well-planned out paper.



      • profile avatar

        Salvatore Monaco

        Comentó el 11/12/2020 a las 10:26:35

        Dear María Calzada Pérez, thank you for your question.
        In my opinion, for overcoming digital barriers, specific training would be appropriate.
        They should be realized by experts in the field of communication and new technologies, to provide practical skills, in collaboration with scholars from the most diverse fields of knowledge (linguists, jurists, sociologists, psychologists), which must provide the most appropriate cultural tools to foster an ever growing ethics and awareness.


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