What does the digital identity of young Quebecers look like?

Some believe that, from birth, every millennial would have traded their pacifier for a smartphone. And yet, the natives of the 21st century are not necessarily all equal when it comes to digital technology. A sociologist looked into the issue and presented her findings at the MTL Connecte 2021 event.

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Some believe that, from birth, every millennial would have traded their pacifier for a smartphone. And yet, the natives of the 21st century are not necessarily all equal when it comes to digital technology. A sociologist looked into the issue and presented her findings at the MTL Connecte 2021 event.

Amina Yagoubi is a project manager in innovation - society and culture within AKY Tips. Ms. Yagoubi is also a sociologist. With the Canada Research Chair on Sociocultural Issues in Digital Education at UQAM, she carried out the study Digital cultures and inequalities: digital uses of young people in Quebec. This was completed as part of the project Youth Qc 2030, supported by the Youth Secretariat (SEJ) of the Government of Quebec.

The study showed that young Quebecers are not all equal in front of a digital screen. They are not the only ones: it is also the case of other young people around the world.

In the countries of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), for example, the career paths of boys and girls diverge around the age of 15. According to the figures given by the sociologist, 23 % of graduates from OECD countries choose natural sciences, engineering and information and communication technologies (ICT). A large majority of them are boys.

Uses related to entertainment

According to Amina Yagoubi, 80 % of young Quebecers use the Web for entertainment. For boys, entertainment rhymes with video games. They would indeed be 70 % to play. Girls, they would be more eclectic in their choices and more numerous on social networks. 

However, just because we love playing video games or posting on Instagram doesn't automatically mean we know how digital works. If we wanted to draw a global and realistic portrait of the Quebec adolescent in front of the digital screen, according to the speaker, it should be noted that he actually has few digital skills, that he has a weak information literacy, that his critical mind is not very well developed and he is vulnerable to scams. A portrait that is not very shiny.

Family influence

If girls have more diverse uses of digital technology, it is because they are more influenced by their family environment than are boys. In doing so, they increase their transversal skills, such as creativity, and develop new fields of interest.

As a teacher, it is important to fight against stereotypes, and there are still many of them in the digital world. It is also important to be aware that all students are not equal in front of a digital screen and to avoid assuming that they know everything. So what is called the digital divide might be easier to heal. 

As Amina Yagoubi recalled, “in a context of digital transformation, we must be vigilant in the face of the gaps which may widen and which could risk excluding a part of the population from the future, social, economic and cultural development of our society. ".

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About the Author

André Magny
André Magny
For more than 30 years, André Magny has been going back and forth between journalism and teaching French to teenagers and adults alike. Freelance freelance writer for various media including Francopresse, he was also a cultural journalist at Law in Ottawa and in charge of new technologies at Soleil de Québec. He also did sports journalism in France. He has a weakness for the Francophonie, culture, sports, cuisine and politics.

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