Most people in Flanders watch technological developments with a positive feeling. They believe that technology makes our lives easier and more comfortable. They also show an interest for digital technologies and think that technology is fun. This positive attitude goes with age: the younger people are, the more enthusiastic they are about technology. One interesting observation is that there is also a large group of technology fans among the over-65s.
When it comes to perceptions about their own skills, age plays a role, as expected: the older a person is, the lower they assess their digital skills. Interestingly, the level of uncertainty about digital technology has risen in the youngest age groups.
In recent years, a love-hate relationship with the smartphone has emerged: while people think it is practical to have a compact all-in-one device in their pocket or bag, this is causing a realization that we are becoming increasingly dependent on the smartphone and the fact that it influences our social relations is causing some unease. Certainly among 16-34 year olds there is a strong feeling that they spent too much time on their smartphone, or that they feel addicted to the device. This doesn’t mean that they are less convinced about the power of the smartphone – it just makes them think about how they can regain control over their smartphone usage in specific situations. The number of Flemings setting themselves ‘little rules’ about this control again rose sharply. The tactics most commonly used are to put their smartphone away in meetings or conversations, to switch off notifications and to keep their smartphone out of reach when driving.
So, on the whole, Flemings remain generally positive about technology, although they are not blind about the challenges that go with it. They are also active in looking for ways of gaining a tighter grip on the role that technology plays in their lives.