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Medialisation and digitalisation of human's life field and developments of his life style (2/2)

Computerization Index

We wanted to identify new trends related to information and communication technologies using an index that would reflect multiple aspects of the observed phenomenon. Therefore, we have generated a synthetic symbol, which consists of 4 attributes: the number of hours spend using the Internet, the number of hours dedicated to computer work, computer ownership, and e-mail usage. From the continuous data acquired we have determined 5 categories, with 1 meaning the minimum value and 5 the maximum value. This group spends the most time with the computer, owns it, uses the Internet as well as e-mail.

The index depends on age, gender, and education. The highest Group 5 is formed by two thirds of men, mostly in the age of 19 - 23, and shows the highest education. The education attribute is based on completed school levels (1 - elementary, 2 - vocational school, 3 - high school with leaving examination, 4 - university).

Education level in groups by computerization levelYouth 15 - 30.
Highest completed education 15-30 in % and educational index
 ElemVocationHSUNITotalEducational index
1-least 20.71 53.57 21.43 4.29 100 2.09
2 25.58 19.77 41.86 12.79 100 2.42
3 30.48 16.04 38.50 14.97 100 2.38
4 20.17 7.56 52.10 20.17 100 2.72
5-most 9.43 5.66 47.17 37.74 100 3.13

The lowest education was shown by people with the lowest computerization level, Group 2 has a slightly higher education than Group 3. The group personifies the contrast between traditional education and culture on the one side, and new technologies on the other side, which is demonstrated by the people showing resistance or hesitance to new technologies. From Group 3 the education level grows and Group 5 shows the highest education. It has more than one third of university-educated respondents.

The following table demonstrates the computerization distribution based on the index.

Population distribution by the computerization index in %
Age group Computerization index
1 2 3 4 5
15-30 24.0 14.6 32.1 20.3 9.3
31- 47.4 15.8 21.0 11.5 4.2

The table shows an obvious generation aspect of the ongoing informatization-related processes. Level 1 includes nearly half of the population above 30 years and only one quarter of the youth. On the contrary, Levels 4 and 5 are twice as high for the youth.

The view "inside" the population is shown by the next chart, which lists age groups by their computerization index. We can see that information technology usage divides the Czech society roughly into 4 big groups: 15-23, 24-45, 46-60, and above 60 years.

Computerization index by age groups

A significant part of today's information technologies, and a new medium incorporating all the previous ones, is the Internet. In 1997, 4% of young people between 15 - 30 years of age used the Internet at their own computer, and 23% at someone else's computer[1]. According to the current survey, the Internet is used by 59% of the same age group. In only four years the number of Internet users has doubled, and at present more than half of the young generation uses the Internet.

Internet usage
internet usage

It is a logical consequence that the Internet usage combined with other modern technologies has changed the life style of young people.

Changes connected with the introduction of information technologies and multimedia have been reflected in all areas of life. The changes will gain dynamics in the Czech society in the upcoming years. In the education sphere, a project is to be implemented to bring new state-of-the-art technologies to every school and especially to the education process. What will be the impacts of such innovation? To a certain extent it can be said that the future is present among us in the form of Group 5 based on the computerization index. According to the current influence of the index we can assume future macroeconomic changes caused by computerization. To demonstrate this, we have shown the impact of computerization on TV watching in number of hours per week. The decline of TV watching affected by computerization has been dramatic. Young people from Groups 4 and 5 spend by one third less time watching TV than respondents from Group 1 (12; 18 hours).

TV watching in groups by the "computerization" level - 15 - 30 years
TV watching in groups by the "computerization


The computer-minded Group 5 shows specific values in comparison with the whole or with other groups, namely the preference of entrepreneurship, freedom, and democracy. On the contrary, when compared with other groups, the lowest preferences are shown for the following values: love, being useful to other people, social prestige, learning and God. Group 4 is characterized by the highest preference of the education value, and the lowest of the property value. The group shows its value profile by the highest positive preference of values such as interesting work, friendship, personality development, being useful to other people, and success at work. Group 3 is characterized by the highest preference of love. Group 1 prefers the values of salary and property. The groups cannot be regarded as a continuum on the scale only, each groups has its specific values.

Leisure Activities

What free-time activities characterize the most computer-minded Group 5? In contrast to other groups, they go to concerts more often, but also visit restaurants and cafés more frequently, they listen more to radio and more frequently engage in profitable activities. On the other hand, they less often go to the theater, discos and sports events. They also spend less time watching TV, doing sports, going for walks or dates with partners, and they dedicate less time to sex. Also, they spend less time on religious activities and meeting with friends.


In connection with the approach of the electronic revolution, new phenomena have occurred or will occur in relation to the young generation.

The following phenomena the generation specifics:

Changes of the Life Field

The life field, namely its mental and social components, has changed - it has been medialized and digitized. One quarter of the Czech youth in the age of 15 - 30 communicates through chat rooms and auditoria on the Internet. More than two thirds of the youth use mobile phones, and for some individuals communication using the mobile phone has become more normal than real communication "face to face". Our research has also covered the start of a new phenomenon - finding partners on the Internet. Nearly 2% of the youth have met their last partner on the Internet, which represents the same share as those who met their partner in the theater or on a concert. E-mail is used by 44% of the youth and PC usage became in the late 90's a free-time activity that has recorded a rapid growth. At the same time in the past decade, the youth engaged in self-education since the older generation and the education system were not ready for the massive introduction of information technologies. After incorporating such technologies in the education system, we can expect a qualitative shift in adopting information technologies by the Czech society.

[1] Sak, P. Proměny české mládeže (Metamorphoses of the Czech Youth) Praha: Petrklíč 2000. 291 s.
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