Analyse and synthesis of the existing data

Comments


1. A representative consortium of the European situation

Since the elaboration of the project, the Mediappro consortium has been built taking into account the European diversity from a geographic, cultural, linguistical, technological and educational point of view. Considering the national and international data collected hereby, it has been confirmed that the consortium presents a good representativity of Europe as a whole.

The 9 partners countries (Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, France, Greece, Italy, Poland, Portugal, United Kingdom) are distributed in a balanced way:

  • geographically, on the whole European Union territory, from North to South and from East to West,
  • politically, with countries highly integrated into the Union and new member states (Estonia, Poland), "large" as well as "small" countries,
  • demographically, with noticeable differences between countries concerning the percentage of 12-18 years old inside the global population (from 7,7 in Denmark to 10,4 in Poland),
  • culturally, with countries from different languages and educational traditions,
  • technologically, with countries whose ICT access corresponds to the differences noticed at the European level. Concerning this question, one can also remark some differences in between countries homogeneously equipped (Belgium) or countries with big regional differences (Italy, France), as far as this contrast effects is not produced by different classification methods. So, we can consider that the trends that will come out of the international comparison of the national results will give a good picture of the European situation considered in a global way on these questions.

2. Some disparities of household and school equipments

In each partner country, as well as at the international level, the statistical data concerning the equipment and the uses of the Internet and mobile technologies take into account the persons of 15 years old and more, or the households. They point out particularly that the best equiped households are the ones with children (this was already the case in previous studies but becomes more and more established in European countries).

Concerning schools, it appears difficult to obtain some recent and comparable data in between European countries. The available data concern the number of connected schools, and sometimes the number or computer per student. Few informations concerning the uses of the Internet are existing, but some results of new investigations are announced in some countries.

We remark that the equipment rates in schools have quickly increased in Europe, and they are often near from 100%. It is particularly the case of some new members of the European Union (Estonia, Poland). It seems that they jump over the technological equipment period without Internet connection and are now in advance in regards to some south European countries (Greece, Portugal).

On the contrary, southern countries have better household equipments than the eastern countries.

These differences in between countries about the Internet accesses can be really interesting. Actually, some studies have shown that the uses of the Internet changed according to the utilisation context (school, home), and that the presence of the Internet at home was an important factor of appropriation for the youth and had a real impact in their apprenticeship.

In that way, young people who have an Internet access at school focused their practice on the research of information, and young people who have an access at home focused their practices on communication and games. The diversity of the national situations for our research should bring us some complementary information on that theme.

3. The uses of this age bracket are hardly known

We didn't find any representative statistics concerning the pre-teenagers (11-14 years old) or children who already use these tools. The age bracket chosen by the Mediappro project is the 12-18 years old people. As a consequence, it will help to better know the uses of the pre-teenagers in regards to the 15-18 years old people.

In analyzing the level of appropriation of the youngest part of the sample (12-13 years), our investigation will also evaluate the necessity to launch a future study about children practices (8-12 years old) for example.

4. Some uses largely dependant on the types of equipments

The mobile phone is largely spread in all the European countries, going from one mobile for two inhabitants (in Poland) to one mobile per inhabitant (in Italy). In many countries, the mobile phone is more used than the normal phone : in Portugal or in Belgium, the mobile phone users are two times more numerous than the normal phone users.

The collected data are about the numbers of subscribers of 15 years old and more, and sometimes about the 15-24 years old, about the repartition of subscriptions in between the different operators, about the number of sent sms. Again, there are less information concerning the equipment of the youngest and their uses.

It appears necessary to take into account the subscription conditions and the development of the third generation mobiles, because the cost of communication and the offer of services have a real impact on the uses. As a consequence, in two countries where the equipment is above the European average, Italy and Portugal, we note a sensible difference in Italy where there are mainly subscribers and in Portugal with mainly pre-paid cards (80% of the subscribers). These differences create different uses for the young people particularly for some specific uses like SMS or MMS, or the writing blogs.

The question of uses is the same concerning the Internet and broadband accesses. The access to broadband is really contrasted with some important differences between Denmark, Belgium or Estonia where the 2/3 even the 3/4 of homes are equipped and Poland, Portugal or Greece where the homes are not, in majority, equipped with broadband.

Everywhere in Europe, but at different degrees, video games are played from a console or a computer, with an old or recent platform that offers (or not) some possibilities to play in network. Here, again, the uses depend on the equipments. If our investigation is not mainly focused on that point, our observations could better determine if the game practices via internet are becoming general and if this practice is encouraging an appropriation of the other Internet services. Anyway, one should not forget to ask first to these young people if they have conscience to be on the Internet while playing in network.

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