MAKE IT EASIER: OLDER PEOPLE AND THE DIGITAL GENERATION GAP IN ITALY

The aim of my project was depicting the digital generation gap in my country and its most important implication. For this reason, the first part of my project is focused on an overview of Internet in Italy and the effects of using internet for older people (defined as >65 years old). My stakeholder was Telecom Italia, the biggest internet provider and telecommunications company in the country, which in 2011 launched a project, “Navigare insieme” to encourage older people to learn to use internet and engage with it. At this purpose, I realized six interviews to people from different parts of Italy (two people from the South, two from the Center and two from the North), with different backgrounds and lifestyle, on Skype. The interviews’ questions are similar to the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ ones, which studied the digital generation gap in Australia (you can find the questions in the Appendix of my project). This study, indeed, inspired my research, and helped me to arrange the pattern of the project and define older people’s age group.

The topics of the interviews are: older people’s use of internet, the impact of Telecom Italia’s project and older people’s opinion on the introduction of e-voting. I recognize that these topics are not really matched to each other, but my idea was making a survey passably, which could address my stakeholder’s study fields and interests. Telecom Italia, indeed, with the project “Navigare insieme”, is interested in the phenomenon of the digital generation gap and in the way older people use internet. Besides, since last year, Telecom Italia is committed in designing an e-voting system not only for aiding the decision-making process of its company and other companies’ at large, but also for national elections. It is financing, indeed, a research pool of experts to design the system and investigate its probable impacts. Thus, I decided to ask a question about electronic voting in order to demonstrate to my stakeholder that my survey could be really useful for both its short and long terms goals and that it could be implemented and extended. That’s the reason for which, for example, in the video I realized to expound the principal outcomes, I used the Telecom Italia’s “Navigare insieme” spot, pie charts and my voice to stress my tips and considerations. I really wanted my stakeholder to feel the protagonist of the study and give an impression of professionalism and reliability to my whole project.

What are the outcomes of my study? As I reported in the project’s conclusion, I found that the 83% of the interviewed use internet at least once a week, and their most common online activities are video calls and social networks. They regard, indeed, internet useful for communication and research, even though only the 29% of them have a social media account.  Besides, The Telecom Italia project, “Navigare Insieme” has been a flop, because only the 17% undertook it and the 66% have no idea of what it is or has never tried it. The 17% have undertaken a different program, promoted by their local governments. Thus, Telecom Italia should sponsor this program more and mostly on TV, which is the most watched media by over 65 years old people (as I demonstrated in the body of the project with references to some studies). This program, indeed, could help older adults to reduce their sedentary habits and get more engaged and social. The use of internet is important to provide new opportunities to older people and release them from loneliness and listlessness feelings. It could also be a useful tool to increase the degree of voter turnout of older and disabled people and reduce public costs (as I supported with references to the Australian Electoral Commission report ‘E-lectoral engagement’). For this reason, Telecom Italia should pursue its aim of introducing an e-voting system and support the government in reinforcing a widespread e-democracy.

That said, to be honest, I recognize that some parts of my research are not well-explained and delivered. A good project, indeed, requires a biggest sample of interviewees and more detailed questions, but unfortunately I had not the possibility to interview more people and ask more questions. Besides, I regarded the Telecom Italia project as a ‘flop’, which is a pretty harsh judgment, even though the outcomes of the survey shown that only one of the interviewee undertook it and that the majority had no idea of what it was about. Nonetheless, as I said before, the sample of my research was not enough representative of Italian older people; so, my judgment was maybe a little untimely.
Anyway, in my defense, I could say that I used this expression as a kind of provocation to my stakeholder because, since “Navigare insieme” project has started, no surveys about its trends have been realized. Thus, my intention was to keep Telecom Italia on the lookout, in order to increase its awareness on the real effects of the project and encourage it to take into consideration my tips and support.

This is my project: it’s an online flipbook that can be downloaded as a pdf document.

MAKE IT EASIER: BCM240 MAJOR PROJECT

This is my video that I uploaded on Youtube.

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