Youngsters chasing science on the web


The new data coming from the Science in Society Monitor are published on Nòva 24 – Il Sole 24 Ore

In 2009 the use of web sites and blogs to get informed on science and technology has slightly increased compared with previous Science in Society Monitor data (2007): 30,2% of interviewees use these tools at least sporadically – in contrast to 25.6% in 2007.

The increment is visible most of all among youngest people. More than one out of two aged 15-19-year-old surf the web looking for scientific-technological news (55.6%) and almost four out of ten surf it with a certain regularity.

Particularly wide, for this kind of scientific information, is the gap between youngsters and the older age group: among 65-year-old (and over 65) a percentage slightly above 3% follow science on the web.

Perceptible are also gender differences, particularly when combined with age (view the table). If among younger males (15-19 years old) the use of science web sites and blogs involves almost two our of three males (63.3), among females over 65 old decreases almost to zero (1.8%). Also when considering the youngest age group, the habit of girls to surf scientific web sites and blogs remains circumscribed if compared to the habit of boys, involving less than one young female out of two (45.8% – with a gap of almost twenty percentage points in comparison to the same age group of males). Young girls who regularly surf the web chasing science are slightly over 20%, against more than 50% of young male “surfers”.

Supported by Foundation Compagnia di San Paolo and published in cooperation with Nòva24 (Scientific supplement of the business newspaper “Il Sole 24 Ore”), the Science in Society Monitor is since 2003 the first permanent monitoring of tendencies and trends in the Italian public opinion about research and technological innovation, offering a solid cognitive base, comparable at the international level and continuously updated.

The research was conducted through CATI-method interviews on a sample of 1020 cases, representative of the Italian population over 15 years of age, under the scientific supervision of Massimiano Bucchi (University of Trento), Federico Neresini and Giuseppe Pellegrini (University of Padova).

Article published on Nòva 24 – Il Sole 24 Ore, May 28 2009.