New report: Danes are skilled, but often uncritical media users
Danes are generally competent media users, shows a new report by the IT University prepared for the Danish Agency for Culture and the Culture Authority and The Media Council. Many are, however, quite uncritical, and some groups have difficulties in keeping up with digitalization.
An ability to use and decode the media is a must for any active citizen. The media keeps us informed and provides outlets to make our views heard, both in private and in public. But how well do the Danes fare in an age where both news outlets and communication with public institutions have become digitalized?
This is the topic of a new report by the IT University, based partly on a study of media use in 20 different families from across the country. The study reveals that a vast majority are competent media users, says Associate Professor Gitte Stald, who led the research project.
- In Denmark, we have access to a wide range of media, and most of us are skilled at using both traditional and digital media. However, we are not necessarily very critical in our use of them. We see this for instance in the awareness of privacy settings and how our data is used, she says.
Focus on everyday life
In the homes they visited, the researchers observed that media use is determined by the realities of everyday life. Participants in the study were mainly interested in local issues connected to everyday life.
- Perhaps unsurprisingly, most people focus on having a good, quiet life. Of course we care about the refugee debate and parliamentary elections, but many of us mainly use the media to manage everyday life. You can say that we are fairly media competent, but we don’t ask many questions or exploit the possibilities to participate actively, says Gitte Stald.
One of the report's recommendations is that more could be done to motivate people to engage actively in society. Another recommendation is to turn the attention to Danes with special challenges in relation to media use. This group includes the disabled, segments of the elderly and bilingual populations and, perhaps surprisingly, young people. Some groups are completely isolated, according to Gitte Stald.
- There is a fairly large group of highly marginalized people, who we can’t reach with a study like this. For this group, increasing media literacy would be linked with social action, and they would need assistance in order to participate actively in society.