Digital Literacies of Youth in NEET-situations: Narratives from Public and Non-Public Service Providers

March 2024
Symposium on AI, Data and Digitalization (SAIDD 2023), Sogndal

Despite strong user-perspectives in digitalization of public welfare services, citizens who struggle with social, cognitive, or health-related challenges may be at risk of exclusion from these digital solutions. Youth, who are not in education, employment, or training (NEET) are particularly vulnerable to being excluded from digitalized public welfare services, in spite of the common assumption that young people, known as "digital natives," intuitively know how to use and develop digital skills.

This paper presents the results of the "Mapping the Need for Digital Literacies for Leaving NEET-Situations" project, which investigated how public and non-public service providers for NEET-youth perceive and work to improve digital literacies among these young people.

The results suggest that service providers do not have a routine in place to map and systematically improve the digital literacy of NEET youths. Instead, they tend to randomly map the digital literacies of these youths when they first have challenges accessing and benefiting from digitalized public services. The study suggests that: 1) the concept digital literacy needs to be redefined in relation to NEET users and situations; 2) a tool is necessary to support service providers in mapping the digital literacies of NEET users; 3) a routine in the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration for mapping the digital literacies of NEETs is required; 4) an organization at the national level should support local service providers in improving the digital literacies of NEETs; and 5) an organization at the national level should facilitate local service providers' efforts to support NEETs' use of digitalized public services.