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..