Digitally deprived children in Europe

ICT usage across Europe

The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has completely changed the need for internet connection and technological devices across the population, but especially among school-aged children. For a large proportion of pupils, access to a connected computer nowadays makes the difference between being able to keep up with their educational development and falling badly behind. This paper provides a detailed account of the digitally deprived children in Europe, according to the latest available wave of the European Union – Statistics on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC). We find that 5.3% of school-aged children in Europe are digitally deprived and that differences are large across countries. Children that cohabit with low-educated parents, in poverty or in severe material deprivation are those most affected. We argue that digital deprivation should be considered part of the definition of material deprivation used by the European Commission to monitor the progress of European societies.

Authors: Sara Ayllón, Halla Holmarsdottir, and Samuel Lado