Multidimensional Digital Inequalities
Theoretical Framework, Empirical Investigation, and Policy Implications of Digital Inequalities among Older Adults
Keywords:digital inequality, digital divide, older adults, internet use, social support
Older adults represent the fastest-growing age group in the global north and are among the most affected by digital inequality. This study investigates the most important factors related with Internet use among older adults in Switzerland. Hereby, the individual context (i.e., gender, age, education, income, preretirement PC use) is found to be responsible for Internet access and frequency of use, while the support by an individual’s social context is related with inequalities regarding skills, diversity of use, and beneficial outcomes. Our theoretical framework suggests a systematic typology of four distinct relationships between dimensions of inequality. Empirical evidence for maintaining (e.g., income), reinforcing (e.g., age), mitigating (e.g., gender), and modifying relationships (e.g., encouragement by friends and family) support this framework and implications for future research and policy interventions are discussed. It becomes evident that the relationships between the dimensions are crucial for any setting in which digital inequalities are found on multiple dimensions. Given the steady innovation of new technologies and online services, the relevance of a multidimensional perspective is likely to increase.
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Copyright (c) 2021 Thomas N. Friemel, Tobias Frey, Alexander Seifert (Author)
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.