A file that gets deleted if I also deleted it from the recycle bin? It’s the questions that make the difference. Between people who use computers and smartphones but don’t understand what’s behind it. And those who have this knowledge and therefore have significantly better prerequisites in today’s world. Or, as the Brandenburg cybercriminologist Thomas-Gabriel Rüdiger puts it: media competence versus erasure competence.
Rüdiger has his say in the study of the D21 initiative, which is devoted to the “Digital Skills Gap”, the gap between those who understand IT and those who struggle with it. If it weren’t so sad, the result could easily be seen as fairly predictable: the elderly and those with low levels of education are numerically behind, and even run the risk of being left behind.
There is no shortage of wiping skills: even four in five people over the age of 70 say they can send photos or texts to others from their smartphones. Searching for a topic on the Internet has now become a matter of course for most of them. With the younger generation, this is no longer a question.
What is lacking are skills that go a little further. For example, the question of sources of information. Whenever it goes beyond just using apps and the like, the differences become apparent. Unsurprisingly, gender plays a minor role, education is what matters and where you work. Office workers are of course more familiar with Office programs than construction workers, for example. And they tend to look for multiple sources specifically so they don’t fall into the trap of one-sided information.
The study, funded by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Ministry of the Family, sheds light on all this. However, he is extremely frugal when it comes to making suggestions as to how this should be handled. In fact, and this is the sad part, it only exposes the failures of the last few years and decades. Just as it has not been possible to prepare Germany for digitization, it has also been neglected to effectively tackle the digital divide.
It has been known for many years that older people have a harder time finding their way around the world of computers and smartphones. And the fact that it is not enough to be able to mine only surfaces, without having the slightest idea of what is going on below, is not a new discovery. There’s been a lot more talk about digitalization lately than in the past, but too little has really happened. What the public administration offers is quite simply unworthy of a modern industrial country like Germany.
A collection of chess
It may be that the representatives of the people were just as lazy as many citizens who like to stick to the tried and true. But if, as requested by the Bitkom industry association, only 9% of tech start-up founders think Digital State Minister Dorothee Bär is doing the most for them, this should give the government food for thought. government personnel. Or the D21 study, which is a collection of chess.
The next government needs to improve dramatically here, the new territory excuse no longer applies. Digital literacy should be part of the curriculum in elementary school. Low threshold offers must be created for older and less educated people in order to increase their digital skills. What Hans did not learn, Hans can still learn. And Gretel too. Companies, too, should take their already existing mandate to train their employees seriously – it is also in their own interests. There is already a lack of specialists.
If a better understanding of the connections penetrates the expanse, then questions such as the ones at the beginning are no longer an intractable conundrum. The answer is no, data is not deleted once it is thrown from the recycle bin. They are only marked for deletion, but can be restored with special programs.