The Digital Agency has introduced in the2018 edition of the Digital Barometer a series of questions to better understand how the French deal with the difficulties they encounter when using computer and digital tools and to better identify their expectations in terms of training and support.
When faced with difficulties in using digital tools, family and friends are the first point of contactResponses to the question " When you encounter a difficulty using computer and digital tools: what do you do?"highlight a wide range of behaviors.
- First of all, there is a form of symmetry at both ends of the spectrum of digital tool users: 8% of respondents say they never encounter difficulties, while 8% give up as soon as they encounter a difficulty (10% of respondents never use computer and digital tools).
- In case of difficulties with the use of digital tools, 43% seek help. 36% seek help from family and friends, and 2% from work colleagues. 5% turn to professionals (salespeople, associations, companies, computer assistance) or specialized structures.
- Finally, 31% of the people surveyed said they were on their own.
- The "autonomous" people (39%): they declare that they never encounter difficulties (8%) or declare that they manage on their own (31%).
- People seeking help (43%): overwhelmingly from a relative
- Non-users (10%)
The feeling of autonomy increases with the level of education...The higher the level of education, the more individuals interviewed said they were managing on their own or had no problems.
The proportion of independent users reaches 47% among bachelor's degree holders and 51% among college graduates. "It is likely that higher education graduates have benefited from a better introduction and training to computers during their initial studies and that people with higher incomes are more likely to be confronted with computer tools on a daily basis in their work, which induces either prior training during their studies or learning during their professional career.
And decreases with ageThe proportion of autonomous users (who manage on their own or who do not encounter difficulties) decreases steadily with age: it goes from 61% among 18-24 year olds, 53% among 25-39 year olds, 38% among 40-59 year olds, 26% among 60-69 year olds, and 17% among 70 year olds and over.
Symmetrically, the propensity to ask for help from relatives increases with age: it goes from 27% among 18-24 year olds to 43/44% among those over 40.
Men more autonomous?While the population of Internet users is made up of as many men as women, men are more likely than women to say they have no problems (10%).
The same is true for being on their own: 38% and 24% respectively. Symmetrically, women are more likely (44%) than men (28%) to seek help from a relative.
The question of "gender effects" in men's and women's relationship to digital technology has been at the heart of research on digital uses and skills for the past 15 years. Numerous studies have highlighted the fact that women are less confident in their digital skills.
L'Capacity survey conducted in 2017 had highlighted particularly strong differences between men and women in their perception of their digital skills. " The skills score, compiling the answers given to all the questions on the different types of skills (operational, informal, social, creative and mobile) showed gaps according to gender: a particularly marked gap for the lowest level, where there are many more women, and the highest score, which on the contrary has many more men." These gender differences in perceived skills are found in most surveys that attempt to assess the digital skills of Internet users. One of the traditional explanations for the gender gap in teenagers is that boys develop more digital skills than girls because they spend more time on computers.
A sense of autonomy that varies by professionThe proportion of independent users is almost the same among people with low incomes and those in the lower and upper middle classes: 37/38%. (By contrast, it is 45% among those with high incomes).
On the other hand, the differences are greater depending on the occupation.
The proportion of autonomous users reaches 63% among executives and higher intellectual professions, 51% among intermediate professions, 42% among employees and 38% among workers. It decreases significantly among the "inactive": homemakers (30%) and retirees (21%). In the latter two categories, there are high levels of recourse to relatives (41% and 44%), slightly higher than the average (36%).
These results, following numerous studies, confirm that we can no longer be satisfied with categorizing the "excluded" or the "prevented" from the digital world according to age, diploma or social category alone. Contrary to certain preconceived ideas, digital difficulties do not only concern the elderly and the poorest households.
Senior citizens can be perfectly socialized but not very attracted by digital technology or, on the contrary, socially and geographically isolated but active on the networks; women raising their children alone can find in digital technology an opportunity to avoid becoming unsocialized or, on the contrary, experience it as an additional constraint in an already exhausting life.
L'Capacity survey had also shown that, somewhat paradoxically, " the more digital uses we have, the more trouble we have ... Clearly, when some people are content to go on Google and transfer photos to relatives, they have few problems with the Internet,"observes Jean-François MarchandiseIt's when you don't have to worry about the Internet that you're going to get into trouble," he says. "It' s when you have several dozen different uses - which is the case for the average Internet user - that problems appear. We lose documents, we don't know how to publish and unpublish messages on certain sites, we are sometimes anxious about certain actions on a banking application or when processing our taxes... These new digital embarrassments concern people who are already connected. Then, we have noticed that the more the French have non chosen digital uses, the more they have troubles ".
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