Over half of the kids share devices with the family. “Only 6.1% between 6 and 17 years live in nuclei where at least one computer is available per component”
In lockdown Italy, children do not all have the same chance to connect to the internet for distance lessons. While the school is entrusting the Network with the most difficult task, that of carrying out the programs that have stopped since the blockade in early March for the health emergency linked to Covid-19, we find that a third of families do not have computers or tablets at home.
The South is once again left behind, where most families are penalized: 4 out of 10 do not have a PC. And then, over half of the kids share with the family PC or tablet. Only 3 out of 10 kids have high digital skills. Over 4 out of 10 children live in overcrowded housing conditions. This was revealed by an Istat survey dedicated to “Spaces at home and availability of computers for children and young people”.
Digital divide and coronavirus
The emergency linked to the spread of Covid-19 has highlighted the need to have sufficient space at home and adequate computer equipment to allow students the opportunity to follow lessons remotely, for those who work to be able to continue to do so even at home and to those who want to relate to others, watch movies, find leisure opportunities for leisure. In detail, Istat explains, in the years 2018-2019, 33.8% of families do not have a computer or tablet at home, 47.2% have one and 18.6% have two or more .
The percentage of those who do not have them rises to 70.6% among families of the elderly (65 years and older), but drops to 14.3% among families with at least one minor. The impact of the level of education is very strong: in the average more educated families (in which at least one component has a degree) the share of those who do not even have a computer or tablet is reduced to 7.7%. In 22.7% of families, less than half the components have a PC to use. For 22.2% of households only one computer is available for each component.
Still, in the years 2018-2019, 12.3% of children between 6 and 17 years of age (850 thousand) do not have a computer or tablet at home and the share reaches almost a fifth in the South (around 470 thousand). 57.0% must share it with the family. In these cases, less than half of the family members have a PC to use. Although the majority of minors in school age (6-17 years) live in families with internet access (96.0%), accessing the network does not always guarantee the possibility of carrying out activities such as distance teaching if it is not associated with a sufficient number of PCs and tablets compared to the number of family members. Only 6.1% of children aged between 6 and 17 live in families where at least one computer per component is available. Only 3 out of 10 kids have high digital skills. In 2019, 92.2% of 14-17 year olds used the internet in the 3 months prior to the interview, without gender differences. However, less than one in three has high digital skills (30.2%, equal to about 700 thousand children), 3% have no digital skills while about two thirds have low or basic digital skills. Girls have slightly higher levels of digital skills overall (32% report high digital skills versus 28.7% of peers). Between 2018 and 2019, 52.1% of children and young people between 6 and 17 years of age have read at least one book in their free time in the last year (about 3 million 600 thousand). Among young readers 46.9% have read up to 3 books (weak readers), 40.7% from 4 to 11 books (average readers) and 12.5% 12 or more books (strong readers). It is mainly girls who declare that they have read at least one book in their spare time (58.2% against 46.4% of peers). Furthermore, among girls, the share of those who read e-books / books online is higher (10.5% against 6.4%). The highest percentage of readers is recorded, for boys, between 11 and 13 years (53%), for girls in the next age group (66.2%). 67.6% of the children who live in families where at least one of the two parents have graduated, but the share drops to 37.7% if the parents have completed compulsory schooling. Over 60.0% of children and young people aged 6-17 residing in the North say they read books, in the South the percentage stands at 39.4%. In the islands, Sardinia recorded a level of readers of 52.6% (in line with the regions of the center), while in Sicily the share reached 32.7%. Over 4 out of 10 children live in overcrowded housing conditions. In 2018, Istat notes, 27.8% of people live in conditions of overcrowded housing. This uncomfortable condition is more common for minors, 41.9% of whom live in overcrowded homes. The discomfort is exacerbated if, in addition to being overcrowded, the home in which you live also has structural problems or does not have a bathroom or shower with running water or has light problems. The condition of severe housing deprivation concerns 5% of the resident people and, once again, it is more widespread among young people. In fact, 7.0% of minors and 7.9% of 18-24 year olds live in conditions of housing discomfort. The share decreases with increasing age up to 1.8% among people aged 75 and over.