Lithuania is highly valued for it’s public and business electronic services, However, a portrait of a Lithuanian Internet user, revealed in a recent study, shows that the majority of the country’s residents use the Internet most predominantly for news, and entertainment purposes, such as watching movies or simply listening to music.
A portrait of Lithuanian Internet user was unveiled in the latest Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) by the European Commission, in which Lithuania ranked in the middle of the group with 52 points out of 100 and was 14th out of the 28 European Union (EU) countries. The leaders in the ranking included Finland, Sweden, and the Netherlands, while Bulgaria, Romania, and Greece took the lowest positions, according to a press release.
“The economic transformations associated with digitalisation, technology, and Internet opportunities have created what we call the digital economy. It is clear that Lithuania has adapted to the new rules of the game, it has found its niche and is even dictating trends in individual areas. The country’s indicators on the use of the Internet are improving, and we stand out within the EU as a result of the fact that we are the most active in reading news online, as well as in using the e-services provided by public authorities. Nonetheless, the internet could still be used by the population more widely,” said Arminas Rakauskas, Head of the Evaluation and Monitoring Division of the Information Society Development Committee.
People are still discovering the Internet
According to data from the DESI compilers, the Lithuanian population is relatively active in using Internet services – Lithuania earned 52.1 points in this area and was rated 13th amongst the EU countries. Moreover, the overall level of Internet usage is growing and has reached 78 percent of Lithuania’s population. At the same time, the number of people who have never used the Internet is decreasing. According to the researchers, the share of such people in the country is 17 percent (while the EU average is 11 percent).
“The most reassuring fact is that the amount of people who have never used the Internet in Lithuania is declining. Of course, this is partly due to the availability of smart technologies and the spread of mobile internet devices. However, the focus on digital literacy, as well as the perception that nothing can be done without the technologies of the 21st century is also increasingly prevalent. This can be confirmed by the statistics from the digital literacy training organized in libraries during the implementation of the “Online Lithuania: an efficient, safe and responsible Lithuanian digital community” project, where in just three months, more than 6.5 thousand people acquired basic skills in digital literacy or increased their knowledge,” said Rakauskas.
Elderly are keen learners
According to him, elderly people in medium-sized towns and cities are the most active in registering and attending the training sessions – this is the audience that most often needs not only encouragement and knowledge, but also the most help.
“The infrastructure for public Internet accessibility is really well developed in the country, so everyone who wants to, can not only acquire new skills but can also improve their existing ones in the libraries of our cities and towns. The opportunity to register and participate in digital literacy training in all the libraries of the country with the help of professional lecturers will continue to be available for many years, so it is very likely that we will jump even higher in the number of people using the Internet in the next DESI ratings,” said Loreta Križinauskienė, Director of the Window to the Future Association.
When it comes to the habits of the Lithuanian Internet user, the fact that Lithuanians are the most active throughout all of the EU in reading the news online is the most striking observation.
People have fun and communicate online
“It can be said that the people of Lithuania use the Internet most often to find out about news, for entertainment, and to communicate. 93 percent of the Internet users and this is 1st place in the EU, read the news online. 84 percent of Lithuanian Internet users also listen to music, watch videos or movies, and connect to social networks more often than the average European. We occupy third place in terms of the use of video telephony, and 76 percent of the population use e-banking services,” explained Rakauskas with regard to the portrait of the Internet users in Lithuania.
He points out that, according to the availability of public services on the Internet, Lithuania is ranked 8th in Europe, and the same applies to the integration of information technologies into business processes, so it is obvious that the habits of internet usage among the population will continue to change over time.
“The public sector and businesses have many things to offer, particularly when seen in the context of the EU. The situation in Lithuania is constantly improving; however, we cannot deny the fact that there are still some residents for whom the internet remains an undiscovered or little-known place. We are planning to provide them with the knowledge they need and hope this will turn into skills and will help them realise that the Internet is not just fun, but is also a way to solve many everyday issues quicker and more efficiently,” the specialist said.
In comparison with its neighbouring countries, Lithuania was positioned closer to the leaders in the DESI index: Estonia ranked 8th, Latvia 17th, and Poland 25th.
About the “Online Lithuania” project (www.prisijungusi.lt)
The aim of this project is to encourage Lithuanian residents to acquire the necessary skills for efficient, versatile, safe and responsible use of the internet, by actively involving local communities in these activities.
The project is implemented by the Information Society Development Committee together with its partners: Window to the Future Association, Communications Regulatory Authority of the Republic of Lithuania, Martynas Mažvydas National Library of Lithuania and the Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of Lithuania.
The project is financed by the European Regional Development Fund and the state budget of the Republic of Lithuania.