Every Fourth Russian Has a High Digital Literacy Level

20 June 2018

Moscow, June 20, 2018. 26% of Russians demonstrated high level basic digital skills. Digital literacy index stands at 52 points out of 100. At the same time the Russians can act carelessly in regards to protecting data: only 38% of respondents make backup copies of their data, and 44% of users do not know how to behave correctly if they receive an email with malicious software from someone they know.

These data were obtained during a special research project Digital Literacy for the Economy of the Future that was carried out by NAFI Analytical Center. For this project Russian national surveys were conducted along with a cabinet study of global practices that focus on the evaluation of adult population digital competencies.

Russians’ Digital Literacy Index

By digital literacy we understand the basic set of knowledge, skills and attitudes that allow a person to effectively solve tasks in the digital sphere.

Digital literacy components:

  • Information literacy
    • Knowledge of the specifics of information from different sources
    • Skills for searching for relevant information and comparing it
    • Attitudes towards harms and benefits that information brings
  • Computer literacy
    • Knowledge of computer hardware and functions
    • Skills for using computers and similar devices
    • Attitudes to the role of computers in everyday practices
  • Media literacy
    • Knowledge of media content and its sources
    • News searching and fact checking skills
    • Attitudes towards the accuracy of information communicated through mass media
  • Communication literacy
    • Knowledge of digital communication dialog specifics
    • Skills for using modern communication means
    • Attitudes towards ethics and communication norms in the digital sphere
  • Technological innovations
    • Knowledge of modern technological trends
    • Skills for working with gadgets and apps
    • Attitudes on the advantages that tech innovations bring

The Digital Literacy Index is calculated as an average of all the components above and stands at 52 out of 100 points possible. 26% of Russians demonstrated high level basic digital skills (respondents with Index scores of 90 and above).

The Russians demonstrate most developed competences in media literacy (the subindex stands at 65 points). Computer literacy has the lowest subindex at 46 points.

In Moscow and St. Petersburg, as well as in cities with population over 1 mln people the subindex stands at 59 points, while in villages it is almost 10 points lower (49). The higher the person’s education level , the higher their digital literacy level is. Digital literacy also depends on the person’s age - the younger the people, the more proficient they are in the digital sphere. No significant differences in digital literacy levels between different genders were found (53 points for males vs. 50 points for females).

In general in regards to digital competences Russians have a steady set of basic skills while lacking knowledge and ethical attitudes (subindex for skills - 55 points, for attitudes - 53 points, for knowledge - 47 points).

Information literacy level

One of the signs a sufficient level of knowledge is the ability to make conclusions about some fact on the basis of different sources. Most Russians take analyzing data seriously and prefer to explore different information resources (74%). In regards to information skills 81% (of those who own a computer) easily find the information they need online.

The situation gets more complicated with the ethical side of information literacy. This indicator shows how deeply a person examines the information that was found. 45% do not think about the harms and benefits of information that they get online.

Computer literacy level

The main characteristics of a computer-literate person are knowledge of the technical components of a computer, ease-of-use of any device regardless of its software platform and understanding the aims of using each gadget.

78% of users in Russia see working on a computer as something that is easy. However slightly less than half of people older than 55 (43%) experience difficulties. To compare, only 10% of people aged 18 to 24 and 12% of people aged 25 to 34 think that working on a computer is difficult. Those with higher education find working on computers easy more often (85%) than those without higher education (74%).

Only 59% of Russians can evaluate technical characteristics of a computer. 75% use a computer to solve everyday tasks - for work, studies, leisure and entertainment.

Young people and males are more proficient in computers and software. The older the person, the worse his computer knowledge is.

Media literacy level

Media literacy allows a person to navigate in the media space, search for relevant news while allowing that media coverage of the news or other information may be incomplete.

51% of Russians do not doubt the facts communicated by the media that they trust. Every fourth Russian acknowledged that it is difficult to follow the news and navigate in the flow of events (26%). The younger the person, the easier this process is.

The majority of Russians (72%) realize that the media that they choose may not always present information accurately. At the same time 28% are convinced that their media of choice are fully honest in communicating information and events. People aged 18 to 34 and those with higher education most often put information communicated by the media under doubt.

Communication literacy level

The level of knowledge in the sphere of communication literacy demonstrates the ability to analyze the position of another person online.

58% of Russians analyze the position of the person who they are communicating with online, and among younger people this percentage runs higher.

Measuring the level of communication skills implies evaluating the usage of modern digital communication tools and channels (messengers, social networks). The majority of Russians (75%) are proficient in using modern communications means: this is especially true for younger people aged 18 to 24 (95%) and 25 to 34 (86%).

Most Russians (76%) believe that the same communication norms that exist in everyday life should be used online.

Digital literacy and security

The risks of gaps in digital literacy stem from improper understanding of the role of information in the modern world which, in turn, leads to not understanding the fact that information needs to be protected. 44% of Russians are convinced that they can protect their personal data. It is of note that over half of Russian internet users (55%) think that securing their personal data is not their concern. They think that this matter should be handled by website owners, service providers and the government.

72% upload private photos online, 19% post information about members of their family. Only a third of respondents make backup copies of their personal data (35%). Every fifth Russian (22%) makes payments through public Wi-Fi networks.

38% of Russians use the same password for different accounts. The same share of users do not use regularly updated antivirus software.

44% of users will behave incorrectly if they receive an email with a virus from someone they know. Every tenth user would send this email back to the sender, 9% would open the email. 4% believe that it is enough to reboot the computer for the virus to disappear. At the same time web users know how to behave when they get an email from a stranger asking to click on a link (71%). Every tenth user would consult with a specialist in regards to this issue.

A person’s attitude to information technologies is closely related to media literacy, information, computer and communication literacy: if a person follows the world of tech, he or she is more likely invested in developing their digital literacy.

A third of Russians follow the news in the sphere of innovations. The older the person, the rarer he or she is up to date with the latest technological developments. Half of Russians realize that modern gadgets help in everyday life and simplify it (58%). At the same time 53% said that it is hard for them to learn how to use modern technologies.


Knowledge in the sphere of working with information, % of all participants, segmentation by education level

All survey participants  People with higher education People without higher education
I make conclusions on the basis of information from different sources 74 86 70
I trust one single information source 26 14 30


Skills in the sphere of working with information, % of all participants, segmentation by age groups

All survey participants 18-24 25-34 35-44 45-54 55+
I can easily find information online  81 94 89 83 69 64
It’s hard to find the necessary information online 19 6 11 17 31 36


Attitudes in the sphere of working with information, % of all survey participants 

All survey participants
I regularly consider whether the information I get online was useful or harmful  55
I never think whether the information that I get online was useful or harmful  45


Knowledge in the sphere of computer literacy, % of all survey participants, segmentation by age groups

All survey participants  18-24 25-34 35-44 45-54 55+
I can figure out how up-to-date the computer and software that I am using are 59 77 68 58 46 42
It is hard for me to figure out how up-to-date the software and the computer are 41 23 32 42 54 58


Knowledge in the sphere of computer literacy, % of all survey respondents, segmentation by education level


People with higher education People without higher education
I can figure out how up-to-date the computer and software that I am using are 60 42
It is hard for me to figure out how up-to-date the software and the computer are 40 58


Skills in the sphere of computer literacy, % of all survey participants, segmentation by age groups

All survey participants  18-24 25-34 35-44 45-54 55+
For me work on the computer is a natural process that does not cause any difficulties 78 90 88 80 67 57
It is difficult and unusual for me to work on a computer  22 10 12 20 33 43


Skills in the sphere of computer literacy, % of all survey participants, segmentation by education level

People with higher education People without higher education
For me work on the computer is a natural process that does not cause any difficulties 85 74
It is difficult and unusual for me to work on a computer  15 26


Attitudes in the sphere of computer literacy, % of all surveyed, segmentation by age groups

All survey participants 18-24 25-34 35-44 45-54 55+
Computer helps me in solving everyday tasks for work, studies, and so on 78 90 88 80 67 57
I mostly need the computer for entertainment and leisure 22 10 12 20 33 43


Attitudes in the sphere of computer literacy, % of all survey participants, segmentation by education level 

People with higher education People without higher education
Computer helps me in solving everyday tasks for work, studies, and so on 85 69
I mostly need the computer for entertainment and leisure 15 31


Knowledge in the sphere of media literacy, % of all respondents, segmentation by age groups 

All survey participants 18-24 25-34 35-44 45-54 55+
I compare different news sources to make sure the media are communicating different news accurately 49 65 61 55 47 35
I do not doubt the news from mass media which I trust  51 35 39 45 53 65


Knowledge in the sphere of media literacy, % of all respondents, segmentation by education level

People with higher education People without higher education
I compare different news sources to make sure the media are communicating different news accurately 67 44
I do not doubt the news from mass media which I trust  33 56

Skills in the sphere of media literacy, % of all survey participants, segmentation by age groups 

All survey respondents  18-24 25-34 35-44 45-54 55+
I know how to stay up-to-date with the latest events and news  74 87 82 79 78 57
It is hard for me to navigate in the flow of news and events  26 13 18 21 22 43


Attitudes in the sphere of media literacy, % of all survey participants

All survey participants
I think that the mass media that I trust may communicate incomplete information or communicate it in a way that is beneficial to someone  72
I think that the mass media that I trust communicate the news fully and in an unbiased way 28


Knowledge in the sphere of communication literacy, % of all survey participants, segmentation by age groups

All survey participants  18-24 25-34 35-44 45-54 55+
Usually I analyze the position of those who I communicate with online  58 72 60 57 49 53
I seldom analyze positions of those who I communicate with online 42 28 40 43 51 47


Skills in the sphere of communication literacy, % of all survey participants, segmentation by age groups


All survey participants  18-24 25-34 35-44 45-54 55+
I can freely use the modern means of communication (messengers and social networks) 75 95 86 77 65 45
It is uncommon and difficult for me to use the modern means of communication (messengers and social networks)  25 5 14 23 35 55


Attitudes in the sphere of communication literacy, % of all survey participants 

All survey participants 
I think that the same norms of communication practiced in real life should be used online 76
I think that the usual norms of communication aren’t applicable online – here you can communicate freely  24


Knowledge of technological innovations, % of all survey participants, segmentation by age groups 

All survey participants  18-24 25-34 35-44 45-54 55+
I try to follow the news about all new technological devices and follow the trends 36 68 61 41 26 11
I do not follow the news and trends in the technology sphere 64 32 39 59 74 89


Knowledge about technological innovations, % of all survey participants, segmentation by education level

People with higher education People without higher education
I try to follow the news about all new technological devices and follow the trends 49 32
I do not follow the news and trends in the technology sphere 51 68


Knowledge about technological innovations, % of all survey participants, segmentation by gender

Males Females
I try to follow the news about all new technological devices and follow the trends 51 32
I do not follow the news and trends in the technology sphere 49 68


Skills for using technological innovations, % of all survey participants, segmentation by age groups

All survey participants  18-24 25-34 35-44 45-54 55+
Using modern technologies does not cause difficulties for me  47 89 74 61 35 14
It is difficult for me to use modern technologies 53 11 26 39 65 86


Skills for using technological innovations, % of all survey participants, segmentation by gender

Males  Females
I try to follow the news about all new technological devices and follow the trends 50 56
I do not follow the news and trends in the technology sphere 50 44


Attitudes to technological innovations, % of all survey participants, segmentation by age groups

  All survey participants  18-24 25-34 35-44 45-54 55+
Modern gadgets and apps help in everyday lives  58 87 83 69 50 30
Gadgets and apps distract me from important things  42 13 17 31 50 70


Digital literacy index, segmentation by age groups


  All survey participants 18-24 25-34 35-44 45-54 55+
Digital literacy index 52 77 71 62 47 28


Digital literacy index, segmentation by gender 

Males Females
Digital literacy index 53 50


Digital literacy index, segmentation by community type


Moscow and St.-Petersburg City with population of 950 thousand people and above City with population from 500 to 949.9 thousand people City with population from 100 to 499.9 thousand people  City with population from 50 to 99.9 thousand people Towns with population of up to 49,9 thousand people Village
Digital literacy index 59 59 54 47 51 51 49


Digital literacy index, segmentation by literacy types


Subindex
Information literacy 54
Computer literacy 46
Media literacy 65
Communication literacy 46
Attitudes to technological innovations 47


“How safe is it do you think to use the internet?”, % of all survey participants, segmentation by age groups


All survey participants 18-24 25-34 35-44 45-54 55+
Using the internet is safe 41 56 51 50 42 25


“How safe is it do you think to use the internet?”, % of all survey participants, segmentation by gender

Males Females
Using the internet is safe 45 38


“How safe is it do you think to use the internet?”, % of all survey participants, segmentation by education level 

People with higher education People without higher education
Using the internet is safe 47 40


“How safe is it do you think to use the internet?”, % of all survey participants, segmentation by people who use or do not use internet

People who use the internet People who do not use the  internet 
Using the internet is safe  52 16


Share of users who have enough knowledge and skills to protect their personal data online, % of internet users, segmentation by age groups 

All survey participants 18-24 25-34 35-44 45-54 55+
I have enough knowledge and skills to protect my personal information online 44 60 51 43 36 28


Share of users who have enough knowledge and skills to protect their personal data online, % of internet users, segmentation by gender

Males Females
I have enough knowledge and skills to protect my personal information online 54 48


Share of users who have enough knowledge and skills to protect their personal data online, % of internet users, segmentation by education level


People with higher education People without higher education
I have enough knowledge and skills to protect my personal information online 49 41


Share of users who have the same password for different accounts, % of internet users, segmentation by gender 

Internet users Males Females
I use the same password for different accounts 38 35 41


Share of users who have the same password for different accounts, % of internet users, segmentation by education level

People with higher education People without higher education
I use the same password for different accounts 34 40


Share of users who regularly update their antivirus software, % of internet users

 

Internet users 
I regularly update my antivirus 59


Share of users who make payments connecting through public Wi-Fi in cafes or on the streets, % of internet users, segmentation by age groups

Internet users  18-24 25-34 35-44 45-54 55+
I make payments while connected to public Wi-Fi  22 36 24 22 17 14


“What will you do if you receive an email with a virus from someone you know?”, % of internet users

Internet users
Will not open the email and will tell the sender that their device is infected with a virus 56
Will send the email with the virus back without opening it 11
Will open the email because it came from someone you know 9
Will disconnect from the internet and then open the email  4
Will ask a computer specialist what you should do 2
Other  4
No answer 14


“What will you do if in an email from a stranger you are asked to follow a link to a website?”, % of internet users 

Internet users
Will ignore or delete the email 71
Will ask a computer specialist what you should do 11
Will send a reply email with a denial 7
Will access the website via link  3
Other  1
No answer 7

* A complex approach was introduced at the G20 summit in April 2017 based on the indicators of information, computer, communication literacy types along with media literacy and attitudes towards technological innovations.
**Russian national representative survey was conducted in November 2017. Over 1,600 people in 140 towns and villages participated in the study. Age: 18 and above. Margin of error does not exceed 3.4%.
Type of publication: Poll results

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