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DIVSI wurde am 31.12.2018 aufgelöst
und wird nicht mehr aktualisiert.

Themen: Vermessung der Netzwelt 

DIVSI U25 Study: Children, adolescents and young adults in the digital world

3. Juni 2015

A ream of hardened conceptions on a wide variety of topics cling tenaciously to the public consciousness. Repeated often enough, platitudes whose veracity can rarely be checked against naked truth at some stage become purported fact. And the persons appraised, all too often with nonchalant superficiality, never experience a fair and balanced appreciation of their behaviour.

This fate has also befallen children, adolescents and young adults in the assessment of their approach to the Internet. For until now there has been a dearth of academically sound analysis, intended to purposefully, precisely and without bias explore behaviour among the 9 to 24 age group in the digital world.

The DIVSI U25 Study is the first of its kind to deliver substantiated answers to questions relating to how the younger generation conducts itself when it comes to the net. And it is comprehensive. It transcends the mere forms of use to analyse the logical structures of reflection and action and the real-life backgrounds of those within the study group. Maintaining the principles of work we have established and continue to uphold, we have succeeded once more in presenting profound insight into an eminently important complex. The study was created in cooperation with SINUS Institute Heidelberg.

Allow me to emphasise a few facts that I believe possess particular interest:

  • 98 per cent of 14- to 24-year-olds use the Internet. In contrast, 19 per cent of the overall population are offliners.
  • The dividing line between on- and offline time has all but disappeared. Smartphones have become our constant companions in all areas of life. Thus equipped, sometimes also clutching a tablet computer, we have become constantly capable of uninterrupted access to a variety of options for use and communication. Most of us can no longer imagine a life ‘without’ all this.
  • From year to year, Internet use nudges its way pervasively through each aspect of everyday life. And for children, this mainly means games. The focus is drifting gradually towards incessant communication via online communities and messaging services. Communicating with friends has become the most important facet of Internet use for adolescents and young adults.
  • But not everyone perceives being on line the same way. The study has identified seven distinct Internet milieus. They differ accor- ding to the lifeworlds they inhabit, their modes of access to the net and their attitudes towards trust and security on the Internet.
  • Educational background is an equally important aspect of social inequality when it comes to media use. The style and manner of media use among children, adolescents and young adults differ substantially along the lines of formal education. And the consequences can be fatal in an age where digital participation is tantamount to social participation.
  • The actual meaning of Facebook friendships is misrepresented in most instances. Our study indicates that those surveyed do indeed make clear distinctions between online friends, personal acquaintances and their genuine, close friends.

In these six facts presented above we see already that the study delivers facts that may indeed prompt a shift to new perspectives. The study will contribute to fostering a more nuanced appreciation in Germany when it comes to how children, adolescents and young adults conduct themselves in the digital world. I hope that you find the DIVSI U25 Study an interesting read and look forward to your comments.

Matthias Kammer, Direktor des Deutschen Instituts für Vertrauen und Sicherheit im Internet (DIVSI)

Matthias Kammer
German Institute for Trust and Security on the Internet (DIVSI)


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