Thursday, February 29 2024

The 47th CENSIS Report shows that an increasing number of
Italians are connected to the Internet and make use of new media than ever
before. More and more have Internet connection and cell phones even at the
cost of losing their privacy.

Italy is becoming an ever increasingly techno-addicted country. Two Italians out of three use in fact Internet on a daily
basis (64%). Young people are even more: 90% belonging tothe 14-29 age group show a natural
ability when using the Internet in comparison with the over 65s (21%).

But not only this, smartphones with Internet have doubled in figures (12%
more in one year alone compared with 2012), with an overall population
penetration of (40%) and topping figures (66%) in the young.

This is the picture which emerges from the 47th CENSIS Report on
the question regarding media fruition and the relationship Italians have
with new technology. It also helps us to understand in which direction
Italy is going and how much impact new media are having on our lives.

The figure most significant and striking regards social network users. One Italian out of two (49%) of the total population has
online account. This figure calls for serious consideration about the
development and changes in social dynamics and on the possible consequences
of social and family relationships in the future.

We are moving with such a strong force that we are heading towards an
increasing and obsessive use of new media. Naturally, this has led to a
sharp decline in traditional media such as newspapers. There is also an
unstoppable crisis in newspaper sales – a fall of 12% in the last 12 years
and a slight but significant fall in audience in general broadcast networks
in entertainment and information. Even here, traditional media are taking a
back stand if we consider that 71% of young people between
the ages of 14-29 use Facebook and 65% Google as channels
of information, Only the over 65s (52%) read the newspaper
as their primary source of information. As one might expect, it seems to
confirm that there is a real generation gap when it comes to using new
technology. In this scenario, it is interesting to note that despite the
increasing space which new technologies are gaining, traditional TV
continues to be popular and is still the main medium overall (95%) followed by 86% cell phones (basic
and smartphones).

The Internet, sophisticated cell phones, PCs and tablets are quickly
entering Italians daily lives and consequently they are revolutionising
their habits and behaviour in social relationships and media fruition. They
are integral parts in workplaces, learning and even leisure time. Our lives
are therefore becoming increasingly more digital life and we are
rapidly becoming addicted to these new digital technologies. Such things
make our lives easier and simpler in most cases but at what price? The
Internet era has brought about a new but significant question regarding the
protection of our personal data. How safe are sites? To what degree are
they really protected? Is it safe to make online purchases, share
conversation and photos and experiences? One question rises above them all
and that is payment. Services are offered free but at the price of our
personal data as “ready money” for which, on the surface, it would appear
to be free. In actual fact, we obtain a service in exchange of sacrificing
our privacy. How much do we protect our privacy in the era of “digital
life” and to what extent are we prepared to exchange our privacy for
services which promise to make our lives simple? In the 2013 CENSIS Report
we have noted a striking contradiction in this regard. It might derive from
a lack of awareness. Indeed, what emerges from the Report is that 93% fear that their privacy could be at risk online and
even 32%, i.e. one user out of three,
stated that they had had privacy violations. 37% stated
that they did not adopt any measures whatsoever to avoid possible
violations on the Internet (password, limiting cookies, etc).

In spite of being exposed to risks on the Internet, only a small minority
of users effectively adopt appropriate measures to protect their own
privacy. Only 41% of users in fact, (according to CENSIS
Report) worries about adopting one or more safety measures on the Internet.
Defending one’s privacy is a question which will be at the centre of
discussion in the future and where immediate intervention is necessary on a
legislative level not just in Italy but throughout the worlds in order to
give users guarantee and protection. As such, today these measures do no
exist and gaps need to be filled..

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