‘Just having a computer doesn’t make sense’: The digital divide from the perspective of mothers with a low socio-economic position

Nicole S. Goedhart*, Jacqueline E.W. Broerse, Rolinka Kattouw, Christine Dedding

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

The introduction of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has been shown to play a role in reinforcing existing social inequalities. This study aims to gain insights into the perspectives, experiences and needs of disadvantaged groups with respect to ICT. In the Netherlands, a relatively large and important group of non-users are mothers with a low socio-economic position (SEP). Little attention has been paid to understanding why mothers with a low SEP scarcely use ICTs. In an explorative participatory study in Amsterdam, using observations, interviews and focus groups, our results show that reinforcing factors related to poverty, motherhood, the complexity of ICT and being first-generation immigrant influence access. The mothers’ needs are multifaceted and go beyond the simple distribution of ICT devices. ICT education should be tailored and integrated into existing social services and the daily lives of the mothers. Moreover, policymakers should pay attention to adapting the online information services to the mothers’ strengths.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2347-2365
Number of pages19
JournalNew Media and Society
Volume21
Issue number11-12
Early online date19 May 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2019

Keywords

  • Digital divide
  • digital inequality
  • illiteracy
  • intersectionality
  • participatory research
  • poverty
  • social inequalities
  • socio-economic position

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