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INTERNET USE IN LOW-INCOME FAMILIES: IMPLICATIONS FOR THE DIGITAL DIVIDE

INTERNET USE IN LOW-INCOME FAMILIES: IMPLICATIONS FOR THE DIGITAL DIVIDE,Linda A. Jackson,Gretchen Barbatsis,Alexander von Eye,Frank Biocca,Yong Zhao,

INTERNET USE IN LOW-INCOME FAMILIES: IMPLICATIONS FOR THE DIGITAL DIVIDE   (Citations: 16)
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This article identifies personal and situational factors that predicted Internet use during the first year of home Internet access by 123 adult participants who were primarily African American, female, never married and had annual household incomes of less than $15,000. In exchange for a home computer with Internet access from January 2001 till May 2002, participants allowed their Internet use to be continuously recorded and completed surveys at multiple points during the project. While both personal and situational factors influenced Internet use during the first six months, race and age influenced Internet use across the entire year. African Americans used the Internet less than did European Americans despite similar levels of income and education. Both quantitative and qualitative evidence indicated a high need for technical support by all users. Results suggest reconceptualizing the digital divide as a "use" divide rather than an "access" divide. Future research to identify cultural factors that influence the frequency and nature of IT use is discussed.
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