A NOTABLE digital divide exists along generational lines in Slovakia. This finding stems from the results of a research project called the Digital Gap in the Generational Optics carried out by the non-governmental think tank Institute for Public Affairs between 2005 and 2013.

The Baby Boomer generation (grandparents) lags behind in the use of modern digital technology, while the inter-generational difference is slightly less dramatic between Millennials (children and young people) and the generation of their parents, Generation X.

While as many as 89 percent of Millennials have experience using modern information technology, the number falls to 71 percent for Generation X and only 35 percent for Baby Boomers.

“There are several factors on the table, such as the accessibility of computers, the internet, or possibilities to gain and develop digital literacy, as well as the education level, the ability to learn, internal and external motivation, lifestyle and general attitudes towards modern technology, that are based on a system of values – meaning, how important a role modern technology plays in the life of the person,” said the project’s author, Marián Velšic.

One reason for the intergenerational gaps in digital literacy is the differing internal motivation and external pressure from society. Millennials are motivated by their school and the environment of their peers. The survey also showed that 65 percent of respondents from younger generation said that they have experience with demands for digital literacy from the labour market.

For Generation X, the demands of the labour market are a big motivating factor. Up to 47 percent of these respondents said in 2005 that they acquired their skills to meet job requirements.

In contrast, Baby Boomers are less responsive to such outside pressure, and they are more likely to be influenced by those within their immediate social environment, like family and friends.

The perception of information technology also differs between generations. For Millennials it is a form of self-expression and self-realisation, as well as generational formation. On the other hand, Generation X views modern technology as a tool to help them stay employed and fulfil their everyday duties. Baby Boomers see computers, smartphones, tablets and the internet as something used by their children and grandchildren for which they are “too old”.