How are we doing with digital competences?

29. 07. 2015.

Even though most adult Hungarian Internet users go online and use web-based technologies for more and more activities, there is still room for development when it comes to digital competences. This is especially true for smart devices, as the opportunities they provide are not fully exploited. However, Internet users are ready for progress: 70% of those who were asked, consider it important to continuously develop their digital literacy, according to the latest research “Report on the Internet Economy”, conducted by eNET – Telekom focusing on digital competences.

Digital literacy: no reason for shame

In an online questionnaire conducted by eNET in June 2015, adult Hungarian Internet users were to choose from six-six key activities. The respondents were asked to mark those activities that they have already performed either on desktop/laptop, on tablet/smartphone, and online regardless of the type of device. One or two marked activities indicated low digital literacy, three or four showed medium competences, and five or six were indicative of a high level of digital literacy. The more activity a person marked, the more competent the person is claimed to be. The results showed that 20% of adult Internet users have low, 43% medium, and 37% high digital competences in the field of Internet usage.

More and more Internet users go online not only to send e-mails and gather information, but also to make phone calls, share files, or even to create web pages.

Still, the usage of smartphones and tablets are not fully exploited, less functions are used on those devices as opposed to desktops and laptops; more than one third of the respondents do not or hardly take advantage on the opportunities offered by these devices. These people either do not use smartphones at all, or only use their basic functions, claiming that “phones are to make phone calls”.

On the contrary a group has emerged that uses smartphones and tablets not only complementary to PCs or laptops, but even instead of them. It should be noted that, that unlike basic computer knowledge, the usage of smart devices is not part of the content of the Hungarian education system. Additionally, a smart device is rather personal, so those who do not own one have limited opportunity to learn about its functions.

School education is not enough

Two thirds of the adult Internet users consider the quality and quantity of IT related education in Hungary insufficient; 54% think that the teaching material should collaborate to the adequate and safe smartphone and tablet usage.

The vast majority of adult Internet users claim to have learned the usage of smartphones, tablets, and even conventional computers, via self-learning and “learning by doing”. Furthermore three quarter develop their skills on a continuous base. They presumably consider education more as an “introduction” to the basics, from which everyone should elect their knowledge to further heights.

With the Internet, for the Internet

As the digital world keeps changing and offering new devices, continuous self-learning is needed to confidently navigate it. For 70% of adult Internet users it is extremely important to keep developing their digital skills.

What else, than the Internet itself could be the primary source for extending the knowledge regarding the digital world. 60% of the respondents claim that Internet is the “digital compass” pointing towards answers to almost any question. The Internet is now so strongly integrated into our everyday lives that we rely on it even to find solutions for problems related to Internet usage.

The key is what your child sees at home

If you use the Internet, your family members – children, siblings, parents or grandparents – are likely to do so too. Most people (82%) believe, that similarly to children, adults should be supported in getting along in the digital space and also to have sufficient knowledge about the opportunities offered by the digital world. This is especially important to those Internet users who have young children; most people think that the examples seen at home contribute more to childrens’ digital literacy than formal education. For that reason, 69% of them regularly discuss the opportunities and threats of digitalisation with their children and give them useful advices, so that the parents know that their children can surf on the Internet without supervision.

In regard of security, parental control and child protection programs are not used very frequently, but two third of the respondent families have rules that children must follow when using digital devices. In most cases, the time spent and content watched online are limited (for example social media and adult content are banned), or children are allowed to use such devices with parental supervision only.

Almost 90% of parents would like to gain more knowledge about the opportunities and threats of the digital world if they could, so that they can help their children to use the Internet consciously and safely.

The digital era: only to live in it, or take advantage of it?

Today’s digital age requires new skills from those who want to take advantage of its opportunities instead of just living in it. Naturally, that requires gadgets that connect to the Internet; and of course, one must also be able to use those devices. Fortunately, there are numerous opportunities to improve our digital competences, and three quarter of Internet users actually exploit those opportunities. In that way, they may help not only themselves but also the next generation to become confident citizens of the Internet.

eNET – Telekom