Remote Lessons A Problem In Italy, Not All Families Have Laptops

Over half of the kids share their devices with their family. “Only 6.1% between 6 and 17 years old live in a home where at least one computer per component is available”

During the lockdown in Italy, children do not all have the same chance to connect to the internet for remote lessons. While the school entrusts the most difficult task to the Internet, we discover that a third of families do not have computers or tablets at home. It means thousands of students will have to suffer schooling during the lockdown. Even if a family considers purchase of the best laptops under $400, sacrifices will have to be made as it will have to be shared within the household.

Lagging behind is once again the South, 4 out of 10 do not have a PC. And then, more than half of the children share a pc or tablet with their family. Only 3 out of 10 young people have high digital skills. Over 4 out of 10 minors live in overcrowded conditions. This was revealed by a survey dedicated to “Spaces in the home and the availability of computers for children and teenagers”.

The Society Is Digitally Divided (Digital Divide)

The emergency linked to the spread of Covid-19 has highlighted the need to have sufficient space at home and adequate IT equipment to allow students the opportunity to follow the lessons at a distance, for those who work to be able to continue to do so also from home and for those who want to relate to others, watch movies, find leisure opportunities for free time. In detail, explains Stat, 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 one rises to 70.6% among families of only the elderly (65 years and over), but falls to 14.3% among families with at least one minor. The impact of the level of education is very strong: in the most educated families on average (in which at least one member has a degree) the share of those who do not even have a computer or a tablet is reduced to 7.7%. In 22.7% of families, less than half of the members have a PC at their disposal. Only 22.2% of households have a computer for each component.

57% share a PC in the family

Still, in the years 2018-2019, 12.3% of children between 6 and 17 years (850 thousand) do not have a computer or tablet at home and the share reaches almost a fifth in the South (about 470 thousand). 57% have to share it with their family. In these cases, less than half of the family members have a PC to use. Although most children of school age (6-17 years) live in families with internet access (96.0%), access to the internet does not always guarantee the possibility of carrying out activities such as teaching remotely 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 between the ages of 6 and 17 live in families where at least one computer per component is available. Only 3 out of 10 young people have high digital skills.

In 2019, 92.2% of 14-17 year olds used the internet in the 3 months prior to the interview, with no 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% declare high digital skills against 28.7% of their peers).

Little readers in their free time

Between 2018 and 2019, 52.1% of children between the ages of 6 and 17 have read at least one book in their free time in the last year (approximately 3 million 600 thousand). Among young readers, 46.9% read up to 3 books (weak readers), 40.7% 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 free time (58.2% against 46.4% of their peers). Furthermore, among girls, the share of those who have 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 of age (53%), for girls in the next age group (66.2%). 67.6% of children living in families in which at least one of the two parents has a degree reads, but the share falls to 37.7% if the parents have completed compulsory education at the most.

Over 60.0% of children and young people aged 6-17 resident in the North declare that they read books, in the South the share stands at 39.4%. In the Islands, Sardinia records a level of readers equal to 52.6% (in line with the regions of the Center), while in Sicily the share reaches 32.7%. Over 4 out of 10 minors live in overcrowded conditions. In 2018, Istat notes, 27.8% of people live in overcrowded conditions. This uneasy condition is more common for minors, 41.9% of whom live in overcrowded homes.

The discomfort is aggravated if, in addition to being overcrowded, the house in which you live also has structural problems or does not have a bathroom or shower with running water or has problems with brightness. The condition of severe housing deprivation affects 5% of residents and, once again, is more common among young people. In fact, 7.0% of minors and 7.9% of 18-24 year olds live in poor housing conditions. The share decreases with increasing age until it reaches 1.8% among people aged 75 and over.