The Italian Almanac

web surfing

Italian News - November 4

Italians continue to adore their mobile phones but, still shy of computers, they lag behind the rest of Europe on Internet use, according to data presented this week by research institute Censis. The report, which looked at the use of communications media in Europe, also found that traditional television is practically the only source of information about the outside world for many Italians.

"They love mobiles and TV because they're immediate and verbal. Anything else is just too complicated for many Italians, especially the older ones," said Censis researcher Raffaele Pastore. Some 79% of Italians use cell phones habitually, more than in France, Germany, Spain or Britain, the four other countries studied by Censis.

One of things cell phones have in their favour is that they are generally simple to use, for anyone of any age. This is what is holding the country back on the Internet front. Although the number of Italians logging on is rising rapidly, it is still only 38% of the population. It is 61% in Britain and 54% in Germany.

There are two reasons for Italy's wariness of cyberspace, research shows. One is that the general level of education in Italy is still lower than in the other countries examined. Internet users tend to have been to university. The other reason is that Italy's population is one of the oldest in Europe.

"Above a certain age people just don't want to have anything to do with computers or Internet," Pastore said. "Partly because they don't feel any need and partly because they're scared of the technology".