Three quarters of the Digi


Information literacy (including finding information on the Internet); cathy widom
Communication skills (including emailing and participating in social networks);
Troubleshooting (including installing software or apps and internet banking);
Software skills (including using software such as Word and Excel (basic skills) and writing code (advanced skills)).

Source: CBS, 2020b.Digital participation as a basic needThe Netherlands has a digital top cathy widom  positionOne in six internet users does not have digital skillsThe curative approach to digital literacy is aimed at combating disadvantage, especially among adults.

And that is desperately needed: approximately 4 million citizens are not digitally skilled (enough) to do business with the government independently (Bommeljé & Keur, 2013). cathy widom  Approximately 2.5 million citizens have difficulties with language and/or maths and will need ongoing support in the future to conduct independent digital business with the government (Israel et al., 2016).

The lack of basic skills makes it difficult for these citizens to participate independently in society, both online and offline. The annual ICT, Knowledge and Economy survey by Statistics Netherlands (CBS) also shows that not all Dutch people are sufficiently digitally cathy spatz widom  skilled.

Although 96% of Dutch households have internet at home and 88% use it on a daily basis, 18% of internet users have few ICT skills. Particularly among internet users aged 65 and older and low-educated internet users, there are relatively many citizens with few ICT skills cathy spatz widom  (CBS, 2020a-b).

If we look beyond basic skills, it appears that more than 5 million adult Dutch people are cathy spatz widom  not media wise and have difficulty dealing with digital media consciously, critically and actively. Elderly people and people with a lower socio-economic status are also vulnerable target groups in terms of media literacy (Plantinga & Kaal, 2018).

In addition, poor digital skills are associated with a significantly lower hourly wage, even if this is corrected for background characteristics such as age, education level and literacy. It also appears that people with low digital skills relatively often have long-term unpaid work and are financially dependent on benefits or a working partner (Non et al., 2021).

Digital security of the DutchThe internet amplifies inequality

Research by the University of Twente also shows that the elderly, the low-skilled and people with a lower income have a lower level of digital skills. In addition, they have a lower motivation and a more negative attitude, have less good equipment for using the internet and use the internet less.

It is precisely the groups that can benefit the most from internet use, for example for finding work or following an education, that are in the worst position. The same applies the other way around: the more resources someone has at their disposal (such as income, property or a social network), the more the internet delivers.

With the limited resources that the less digitally literate groups have at their disposal, the contribution of the internet to the well-being of these groups is relatively small. That is why the researchers speak of digital inequality: the internet amplifies existing inequality (Van Deursen, 2018).

The Netherlands has limited cyber resilienceIncreasing use of digital government

The use of digital government has increased significantly in recent years. Every year, the Dutch have about 390 million contacts with the government. More than half of these contacts took place via a digital channel in 2016 (Kanne & Löb, 2016). These channels are usually used via DigiD.

An upward trend is still visible in both the activation and the use of DigiD. The number of active DigiD accounts increased from 9.8 million in 2012 to 18.3 million in 2020 (ICTU, 2021). The number of DigiD authentications has grown from 75.5 million in 2012 to 403 million in 2020 (Logius, 2014-2021).

D authentications come from one of the four major users: the Tax Authorities (21%), UWV (19%), Healthcare (18%) and MijnGovernment (16%) (ICTU, 2018). This is also reflected in the figures of these organizations: in 2019 99% of tax returns and 95% of unemployment benefits were submitted digitally (Belastingdienst, 2019; VNG, 2018).
Different skills needed to use digital government

In 2019, 75% of the Dutch used government websites. They mainly searched for information (70%), downloaded documents (48%) and/or returned documents (53%). Highly educated people and citizens between the ages of 25 and 45 in particular made relatively frequent use of government websites (CBS, 2020a). Which group of citizens is not digitally skilled enough to use – completely independently?


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