The use of the Internet by young people in Sardinia: the survey findings

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The publication of the survey results that the Eurispes Institute is dedicating, through its regional office, to young people in Sardinia goes on. After surveying the relationship between Sardinian teenagers and the smoking issue, the prevalence of cyberbullying, early school leaving and the effects of distance learning, a further study outlines a kind of generational profile regarding the habits of teenagers in using the Internet. The data of the Eurispes survey were presented today, 29 April, at the Sardinian regional headquarters of the Institute. The guest of honour was a grade three Human Sciences class from Liceo “Dettori” in Tempio Pausania, representing a sample of 869 middle and high school students from Sardinia involved in the survey.

Considering the free participation of the sample that took part in the survey, the largest number of respondents were students in the two-year course (53.5%), followed by their colleagues in the three-year course (46.5%) and to a much lesser extent by the over-18s (3.3%), who are likely to be students from the last classes. The sample of 869 students interviewed was distributed in different areas of the island, with a strong focus on the Oristano area and, to a lesser but still significant extent, on the North-East.

The survey confirms the profile of an increasingly digital generation, as demonstrated by the very high percentage of students (99.1%) who said they were using the Internet. This apparently obvious fact, however, masks dynamics and factors to be explored. Probably because they are in common use, or because they are the most accessible, smartphones are the preferred device. In fact, 90.9% use it, compared to 6.5% who use a PC (the classic desktop, fixed or portable) and 1.8% who access the Internet through an iPad or tablet. Almost all of them (95.4%) have unlimited connections, which obviously allows them to explore the Net without having to worry about their Giga capacity.

We could imagine them hypnotised in front of their mobile screens, the young Sardinians travelling the Net. But it is not exactly the case: if it is true that a good half (50.5%) use the Net for more than 4 hours a day and 30.9% for 2 to 4 hours a day, 18.6% do not exceed the limit of two hours. However, the average amount of time spent on the Internet is not to be ignored.

The question is how this time is spent. Here are the answers given by Sardinian teenagers: 60,5% connect to chat, 38,7% to listen to music, 28,5% to surf the social networks, but there are also 19,6% who use the Net to get information about current events, 19,5% to play online games and 10,7% who use Internet resources for studying. There is also a clear preference for social networks: Instagram is very popular, with 94.1% of the sample having a profile on this platform. They turn to YouTube when they want to listen to and watch music at the same time. Thirty-nine per cent connect to YouTube for music videos.

The 44 questionnaire questions help to show what cannot always be assumed from the observation of explicit behaviours. For example, how deep-rooted is the idea that the Internet can act as a hidden influence on teenagers and that its use can influence their choices, opinions and behaviour in the long run? Some 50.2% of the teenagers firmly deny that the Internet can influence their thoughts and feelings, 27.6% are undecided and 22.2% of the sample (just under a quarter) admit that the Internet can become a source of influence. This data is problematic and controversial, because the influence of the Net on cognitive and emotional aspects is denied by digital natives, who are nevertheless intensely immersed in the Web world.

Overall, there is only a limited awareness of the Net’s characteristics and its possible dangers. People like the Internet and new technologies tickle tastes and trends. And even if it is true that 54% of the young people interviewed state that they have thought about the risks of the platforms, it turns out that no form of alarm or concern arises about the potential risks of the Net, whose logics and functional mechanisms are unknown.

There is also a small belief that needs to be addressed: the so-called digital citizenship seems far from being a form of cosmopolitanism 2.0. Only 20.7% of young people consider themselves citizens of the world thanks to the Internet. More than half of them (51.9%) disbelieve that the Internet contributes to making global citizens out of its users. This data is also worthy of further investigation because it reveals a certain inconsistency between the generation of digital natives and the global and hyper-connected world to which they are supposed to belong.

Il Rapporto in versione integrale è disponibile al seguente link



This content is also available in: Italian

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