More and more aspects of life rely on digital skills. We now know that guaranteeing internet access with high-speed networks does not suffice. Added to the social, cultural and gender digital divides are new gaps emerging from how the actual technologies operate, some of which are highly treacherous, such as the discrimination practised through algorithms.
More and more aspects of life rely on digital skills. Without a doubt, the technological revolution is bearing a remarkably positive impact on social and production dynamics, and digitalisation may be a catalyst for improvement and progress. Provided its benefits reach one and all. We are still living in a hybrid society, half in-person and half virtual, but we are rapidly moving towards a model where everything will run through new communication technologies. Most administrative procedures are required to be digital nowadays, we can neither study nor work outside the internet. Recreation, health, personal relationships and even political participation increasingly call for digital skills.
Added to the age-old causes of social exclusion are new gaps in terms of access to and mastery of digital tools. We now know that guaranteeing internet access with high-speed networks does not suffice. This was the first gap that materialised, but as it is closed thanks to the rolling out of government measures, new ones are emerging. The most visible divide, which relates to digital training, can only be conquered with more and better education.
Although almost everyone has a smart mobile phone, connectivity is of little use in the absence of digital skills. And this lack of skills does not only affect a significant share of older adults, but also many digital natives, who are able to use devices, surf the internet and navigate social media, but do not always have the necessary knowledge to tap into the benefits of ICT. Despite their dexterity when it comes to handling devices, a combination of overconfidence and lack of cultural resources makes many of them easy prey to all sorts of scams and hoaxes, as has been seen with the cryptocurrency craze.
Added to the social, cultural and gender digital divides are new gaps emerging from how the actual technologies operate, some of which are highly treacherous, such as the discrimination practised through algorithms. The lack of digital training has become a stumbling block, one that is often insurmountable, to exercising rights and enjoying opportunities. Digitalisation must therefore be supported by legislation and government policies aimed at conquering the divides and guaranteeing digital equity.
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