The goal is clear: Germans must become digitalised. The road is less there, as a major study of the D21 initiative shows today. Most people are now able to use electronic devices such as smartphones. Even most people over 70 can now send photos from their smartphone.
But when it comes to understanding the links behind it, it seems bleak. Above all, people with little education and the elderly do not understand it enough. Less educated people, for example, much more often use a single password for various Internet services – although what you need to know is very dangerous.
It also looks bad when it comes to assessing the severity of sources. More educated people are much more likely to consult multiple news sources than less educated Internet users. According to the study, this makes them more likely to fall victim to disinformation campaigns and, in the worst-case scenario, leads them to drift into a parallel world. It is “a serious threat to social cohesion and our democracy”.
Many younger and more educated people also have skills deficits in the digital world. For example, only two out of five online users can set up a video conference. And only 14% of those polled say they have mastered a programming language. The differences between people who work in offices and other employees are also clear. On average, office workers find it much easier to use digital technology.