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  • Writer's pictureGIOVANNI FIERRO

Digital relations.

Updated: Apr 3

Based on the project "DigiWELL Building. Digital Resilience by Making Digital Wellbeing and Security Accessible" number 2022-2-SK01-KA220-ADU-000096888, we reflected that it was important to reflect on the role of digital relations which today occupy an important role in the lives of all.

Over the last twenty years, technology has made considerable strides, introducing new means of communication and new technologies, which are very quickly replacing, at least in part, direct person-to-person contact. It should be remembered; however, we are in the so-called 'digital age', not everyone has free and conscious access to technology; especially for the elderly or sometimes for adults, technology can become an instrument of exclusion, thus losing its natural purpose, that of simplifying relationships.

In addition to influencing interpersonal relationships, technology is also taking on a key role within state work, simplifying bureaucratic procedures. Although this certainly has a positive effect because it reduces working time, which is often very long, there should always be a classical way of accessing procedures. The choice of some governments, such as the Spanish one, to provide for an exclusive digital access for each procedure therefore leaves many doubts. A study by the SPANISH NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STATISTICS, dated 28 November 2023, estimates that 94.4% of Spaniards have had access to the Internet at least once in the last three years, and that 82.9% have a computer at home; these data are, however, in my opinion not very useful, it is not enough to have a computer to use it properly, moreover it is officially proven that 18% of households do not have a PC;  But if, as the Spanish Constitution emphasises in Article 14, 'Spaniards are equal', how can the Spanish state choose to rely on technology exclusively, consciously excluding part of the population. Technological discrimination also leaves doubts as to compatibility with another article of the Spanish Constitutional Charter, Article 27, which guarantees the right to education. In my opinion, with the evolution of the world, the word education should also cover the technological sphere, today the basic technological skills are only possessed by 66.2% of the population.

The Italian government is also following the path of digitisation, through the creation of digital identities, so-called SPID since 2015. I believe that the decision to set up these procedures without having foreseen a technology education system is not a prudent choice by governments that overlook the fact that a large part of the population lacks basic digital skills. An Italian ISTAT study published on 20 December 2023 estimates that basic technology skills related to the use of the telephone are available to 45.7% of the 16-74 age group. This means that more than half of the country's population does not have the right skills to deal with new technologies, a date that can only worsen if the over 75 and under 15 age groups are considered.

It would also be important to carry out an investigation into the emotional effects caused by the new technologies; the over-50s have in fact witnessed a radical change in the world in which they were born and grew up, a change that took place quickly without giving them the time they needed to adapt to the new world. Here, too, the role of the state should be crucial, the governments should protect these people, both by means of a conscious use of technology, but also and above all by devising systems that do not totally exclude those who do not know how to relate to technology. It is important to use this precious tool with moderation and solidarity, making it a weapon of inclusion and not of destruction.


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