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Revisiting the digital divide in Canada: The impact of demographic factors on access to the internet, level of online activity, and social networking site usage

TitleRevisiting the digital divide in Canada: The impact of demographic factors on access to the internet, level of online activity, and social networking site usage
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsHaight, M., Quan-Haase A., and Corbett B. A.
JournalInformation, Communication and Society
Volume17
Pages4
Keywordsdigital divide, digital inequality, level of online activity, social media, social networking sites
Abstract

The present study relies on the 2010 Canadian Internet Use Survey to investigate differences in people's access to the internet and level of online activity. The study not only revisits the digital divide in the Canadian context, but also expands current investigations by including an analysis of how demographic factors affect social networking site (SNS) adoption. The findings demonstrate that access to the internet reflects existing inequalities in society with income, education, rural/urban, immigration status, and age all affecting adoption patterns. Furthermore, the results show that inequality in access to the internet is now being mimicked in the level of online activity of internet users. More recent immigrants to Canada have lower rates of internet access; however, recent immigrants who are online have significantly higher levels of online activity than Canadian born residents and earlier immigrants. Additionally, women perform fewer activities online than men. People's use of SNSs differs in terms of education, gender, and age. Women were significantly more likely to use SNSs than men. Interestingly, high school graduates had the lowest percentage of adoption compared to all other education categories. Current students were by far the group that utilized SNSs the most. Canadian born, recent, and early immigrants all showed similar adoption rates of SNSs. Age is a strong predictor of SNS usage, with young people relying heavily on SNSs in comparison to those aged 55+. The findings demonstrate that the digital divide not only persists, but has expanded to include inequality in the level of online activity and SNS usage.

URLhttp://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/1369118x.2014.891633