Nearly 1 in 5 French struggle with digital skills

For 14 million French people, accessing essential online services is a struggle: administrative procedures, access to social rights...

Reading, writing, using a computer, mastering software, and browsing the web: essential skills these days. Obvious for some, they pose problems for many others... and turn their daily lives into a chore.

Digital technology is everywhere: work, leisure, health, education, administrative procedures. Companies and public organizations offer more and more online services. However, what makes life easier for some can also make it more difficult for others, especially when physical access solutions to these digitalized services (service desks, mail, telephone line) disappear, mostly to achieve savings.

A word now refers to people who are excluded or struggling with digital technology: digital illiteracy. In 2020, a Senate information report on the fight against digital illiteracy and digital inclusion estimated that 17% of the French population was excluded from digital technology. Several factors come into play: age, level of education, standard of living, place of residence.

Despite this, in recent years, the digitization of services has only accelerated. Particularly during successive lockdowns, as physical spaces were closed to users. Digital procedures have thus become a struggle for some:

  • Sending a registered letter via La Poste's website.
  • Renewing one's identity card on the government's platform.
  • Participating in a job interview via videoconferencing.
  • Consulting with a doctor by telemedicine.
  • Doing online shopping...

Digital technology is hindering many French people from accessing their rights, such as education, employment, social rights, and public services, leading to real inequalities in access to services, especially public ones.

Having stated this, what solutions can be deployed to reduce these inequalities?

  • Training teachers (from primary to higher education) and students, and then university students. Contrary to what one might think, young people are also affected by digital illiteracy. Yes, they are adept at using social networks, but they still encounter difficulties in using certain online services (such as administrative or banking services).
  • Training caretakers, social workers, and public servants to be able to assist elderly people, those with disabilities, those in precarious situations, or those living in rural areas.
  • Offering systematic access to physical or telephone support, so that users are no longer left helpless in front of their computers.
  • Designing simplified tools that are easy to understand and use, incorporating user feedback from various situations (seniors, people with disabilities, etc.) into the process of creating digital tools.

Do you know anyone who is struggling to carry out their procedures on the Web? What is causing them the most problems?

[Cover photo: Kier In Sight]

A digital that is accessible to all and does not exhaust the planet's resources: a future challenge that we can address now. My mission: to find responsible, ethical, and inclusive initiatives that are moving things in the right direction.


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