The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), the national agency in charge of the regulation of television, Internet, digital media, broadcasting, telecommunications and consumer protection, has recently published the findings of its study on adult media literacy.
The objective of the study, Adult Digital Media Needs (pdf), commissioned by the digital media arm of ACMA was to better understand the needs and experiences of adult Australians who have limited experience and/or access using digital media and other forms of ICT.
The study also aimed to better understand where the digital media literacy gaps and find appropriate policy initiatives to help bridge the digital divide among Australians.
Here are some of the key findings of the ACMA Report:
- Usage patterns of different types of digital media tended to be highly individual depending on people's own needs, motivations and the situated usage context;
- Limited users of digital media indicated that their unmet digital media needs are largely associated with the Internet, as they perception that learning how to use the Internet is the key to enabling them to participate more effectively in Australian society;
- People in the study were inclined to use GPS and digital map features via their computer, rather than learn how to use similar features on their mobile phone or other hand held device.
Reasons for Limited Digital Media Use
- Use of new technology is not a priority;
- Participants stated that they were afraid to give up 'traditional methods';
- Research participants held the perception that technology was too difficult and would require them to make significant changes to their lifestyle.
One of the most striking things about the ACMA report are similarities between their findings and the research conducted by Dr. Mercedes Fisher and myself on digital and social media user motivation, retention and self-regulation. In many ways, it appears that very little has changed in the five years since we completed our study.
For me, the report boils down to the fact that people have to be guided to the realization that technology, especially social media, is really about relationships, not technology.
Furthermore, unless people are provided with a reason to use technology in a situated and meaningful context, they will fail to integrate or adopt the use of digital media and technology into their daily lives.
ACMA has put together a very interesting and well written report that should be of interest to anyone who works in the digital media space. Many thanks to Ben O'Mara for the heads up on this terrific bit of research.