Young People and Digital Self Service Solutions

Student thesis: Master thesis (including HD thesis)

  • Tim Sloth Johansen
4. term, Public Administration and Social Science (Master Programme)
In the following thesis, the subject of analysis is the challenges young people face when using public digital self-service solutions. It is relevant to study because the focus for the past years mainly has been directed at the problems that elderly people face. The reason for this focus is the assumption, that young people use computers every day, so authorities do not consider the young people a problem in terms of digitalization. Furthermore, it is important to examine this issue because if there is not made an effort in terms of helping young people the problems may continue to exist for generations to come.
The purpose of this study is to seek an answer for the question: How big an effect do the six barriers from the digital divide literature have on young people in regards to them being digitally excluded. The study uses focus group interviews to gather the opinion from the respondents. Besides the interviews, there is also a language test. In this test, the respondents are presented with two statements from a public website, one regarding moving and another regarding the “ungdomskort”. The respondent has to choose the right option from a list of three possibilities. This test will reveal how well the respondents are actually able to read. The respondents come from three different schools, Thisted Produktionsskole, Aalborg Produk-tionsskole and Thisted Handelsskole. The reason I chose these schools is that they represent different edu-cations. The pupils Thisted Produktionsskole and Aalborg Produktionsskole has been somewhat discon-nected from the educational system while the pupils of Thisted Handelsskole represent pupils that are in the formal educational system. It would have been useful to have pupils from technical colleges but that was not possible.
The theoretical background for this thesis is six barriers from the digital divide literature. These are: Lack of motivation, lack of relevance, lack of resources, lack of skills, lack of relevant content (solutions) and finally lack of social resources. The respondents were asked a series of questions to determine which of these, if any, presented the greatest challenge for them. The results were that it was primarily the lack of skills that was a problem. The respondents both lacked skills in understanding the language the public websites and self-service solutions use but also navigating the public sector’s websites. The reason they found the lan-guage hard was, that it contained very long sentences and the words were very complex. Besides the lan-guage being hard to understand, they think that it is difficult to navigate the websites mostly because the sites contained large amounts of information that the respondents found irrelevant. The respondents sug-gested that the public websites should focus more on communicating clear so that young people would understand it.
Publication date1 Jul 2014
Number of pages64
ID: 201281031