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Rethinking Internet skills. The Contribution Of Gender, Age, Education, Internet Experience, And Hours Online To Medium- And Content-Related Internet Skills.

Citation:
Van Deursen, A.J.A.M., Van Dijk, J.A.G.M. & Peters, O. (2011). Rethinking Internet skills. The Contribution Of Gender, Age, Education, Internet Experience, And Hours Online To Medium- And Content-Related Internet Skills.
Poetics, 39, 125–144.


Abstract:
This paper focuses on one of the factors that appears to be important in several conceptualizations of how to approach the digital divide: the differential possession of so-called Internet skills. Three largescale performance tests are conducted to reveal the contributions of gender, age, educational level of attainment, Internet experience, and amount of Internet use on both medium- and content-related Internet skills. Age appears to have a negative influence on medium-related skills. However, there is a positive contribution to the level of content-related skills, meaning that older generations perform better than the younger. Unfortunately, they are impeded by their low level of medium-related skills in such a way that the actual result is negative. This noteworthy conclusion, to our knowledge, has hardly received any attention in digital divide research. Educational attainment appears significant for both medium- and content-related Internet skills. This conclusion contrasts somewhat with other research that claims that people learn digital skills more in practice than in formal educational settings. Internet experience only contributes to medium-related skills. It appears that content-related skills do not grow with years of Internet experience and the number of hours spent online weekly. The latter only has some effect on medium-related skills.

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