First Monday <p><em>First Monday</em> is one of the first openly accessible, peer–reviewed journals solely devoted to resarch about the Internet. <em>First Monday</em> has published 1,955 papers in 290 issues,&nbsp;written by 2,789 different authors over the past 24 years.. No subscription fees, no submission fees, no advertisements, no fundraisers, no walls.</p> University of Illinois at Chicago University Library en-US First Monday 1396-0466 <p>Authors retain copyright to their work published in <em>First Monday</em>. Please see the footer of each article for details.</p> Global perspectives on digital inequalities and solutions to them <p>&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> Laura Robinson Jeremy Schulz Noah McClain Timothy Hale Heloisa Pait Massimo Ragnedda Joseph D. Straubhaar Aneka Khilnani Natalia Tolentino Copyright (c) 2020 First Monday 2020-06-15 2020-06-15 10.5210/fm.v25i7.10840 Digital inequalities 2.0: Legacy inequalities in the information age <p>2020 marks the 25<em>th</em> anniversary of the “digital divide.” Although a quarter century has passed, legacy digital inequalities continue, and emergent digital inequalities are proliferating. Many of the initial schisms identified in 1995 are still relevant today. Twenty-five years later, foundational access inequalities continue to separate the digital haves and the digital have-nots within and across countries. In addition, even ubiquitous-access populations are riven with skill inequalities and differentiated usage. Indeed, legacy digital inequalities persist <em>vis-à-vis</em> economic class, gender, sexuality, race and ethnicity, aging, disability, healthcare, education, rural residency, networks, and global geographies. At the same time, emergent forms of inequality now appear alongside legacy inequalities such that notions of digital inequalities must be continually expanded to become more nuanced. We capture the increasingly complex and interrelated nature of digital inequalities by introducing the concept of the “digital inequality stack.” The concept of the digital inequality stack encompasses access to connectivity networks, devices, and software, as well as collective access to network infrastructure. Other layers of the digital inequality stack include differentiated use and consumption, literacies and skills, production and programming, etc. When inequality exists at foundational layers of the digital inequality stack, this often translates into inequalities at higher levels. As we show across these many thematic foci, layers in the digital inequality stack may move in tandem with one another such that all layers of the digital inequality stack reinforce disadvantage.</p> Laura Robinson Jeremy Schulz Grant Blank Massimo Ragnedda Hiroshi Ono Bernie Hogan Gustavo S. Mesch Shelia R. Cotten Susan B. Kretchmer Timothy M. Hale Tomasz Drabowicz Pu Yan Barry Wellman Molly-Gloria Harper Anabel Quan-Haase Hopeton S. Dunn Antonio A. Casilli Paola Tubaro Rod Carvath Wenhong Chen Julie B. Wiest Matías Dodel Michael J. Stern Christopher Ball Kuo-Ting Huang Aneka Khilnani Copyright (c) 2020 First Monday 2020-06-17 2020-06-17 Digital inequalities 3.0: Emergent inequalities in the information age <p>Marking the 25<sup>th</sup> anniversary of the “digital divide,” we continue our metaphor of the digital inequality stack by mapping out the rapidly evolving nature of digital inequality using a broad lens. We tackle complex, and often unseen, inequalities spawned by the platform economy, automation, big data, algorithms, cybercrime, cybersafety, gaming, emotional well-being, assistive technologies, civic engagement, and mobility. These inequalities are woven throughout the digital inequality stack in many ways including differentiated access, use, consumption, literacies, skills, and production. While many users are competent prosumers who nimbly work within different layers of the stack, very few individuals are “full stack engineers” able to create or recreate digital devices, networks, and software platforms as pure producers. This new frontier of digital inequalities further differentiates digitally skilled creators from mere users. Therefore, we document emergent forms of inequality that radically diminish individuals’ agency and augment the power of technology creators, big tech, and other already powerful social actors whose dominance is increasing.</p> Laura Robinson Jeremy Schulz Hopeton S. Dunn Antonio A. Casilli Paola Tubaro Rod Carvath Wenhong Chen Julie B. Wiest Matías Dodel Michael J. Stern Christopher Ball Kuo-Ting Huang Grant Blank Massimo Ragnedda Hiroshi Ono Bernie Hogan Gustavo S. Mesch Shelia R. Cotten Susan B. Kretchmer Timothy M. Hale Tomasz Drabowicz Pu Yan Barry Wellman Molly-Gloria Harper Anabel Quan-Haase Aneka Khilnani Copyright (c) 2020 First Monday 2020-06-18 2020-06-18 Who are the limited users of digital systems and media? An examination of U.K. evidence <p>This paper presents findings on the correspondence of levels of digital systems and media use with a range of socio-economic and demographic measures in the U.K. Most research on inequalities in regard to digital systems and media has focused on access and skills. Building on prior work (Yates and Lockley, 2018; Yates, <em>et al.</em>, 2015) we argue that inequalities in regard to digital systems and media are better understood around types of user and their correspondence to other key social variables — rather than solely individual skills and access. The analysis presented here covers a range of key demographic variables, especially those that are markers of distinct social disadvantage. We find that those not using the Internet have distinct characteristics — predominantly around age, education and deprivation levels. We also find that those undertaking limited uses (overall limited use or a very narrow range of uses) are all predominantly from lower socio-economic status backgrounds with variations due to age and education. The data used for the analysis is the recent U.K. Ofcom 2018–19 (<em>n</em> = 1,882) media literacy survey. The paper uses latent class analysis methods to inductively define user types. Multinomial and binary logistic regression are used to explore the correspondence of latent class group membership to key demographic variables. These insights have direct U.K. and international policy relevance as they are key to the development of strategies to tackle ongoing digital inequalities in U.K. society.</p> Simeon J. Yates Elinor Carmi Eleanor Lockley Alicja Pawluczuk Tom French Stephanie Vincent Copyright (c) 2020 First Monday 2020-06-22 2020-06-22 Determinants of cyber-safety behaviors in a developing economy <p>In a world increasingly driven by digital technology, cyber-safety is becoming a pressing concern for Internet users. This article contributes to sociological, psychological, and criminological literature on digital risks by investigating the determinants of individuals’ cyber-safety behaviors. Our study adds new insights to digital inequalities studies, cognitive health behavior models, and fear of crime literature by developing and testing a comprehensive theoretical model in a developing economy (Uruguay). To validate our model, we fit structural equations with data from the 2017 WIP+DiSTO Uy survey, a representative sample of Uruguayans (<em>N</em>=653). We found that operational digital skills were the strongest predictor of cyber-safety, while also providing support for the sequentiality of the digital divide hypothesis, as education and age-based disparities affect cyber-safety through their effect on Internet use, which in turn affects digital skills. Additionally, findings contribute both to cognitive behaviors and fear of crime literature, by attesting that gender and age-based disparities only have an indirect effect on cyber-safety, which is mediated by user beliefs regarding the severity of cyber-victimization. The study also provides evidence for the generalization of cyber-safety behavior theories — originally formulated based on data from developed economies — to developing ones, by stressing the role of digital skills and perceptions of victimization severity as the main direct antecedents of cyber-safety.</p> Matías Dodel Daniela Kaiser Gustavo Mesch Copyright (c) 2020 First Monday 2020-06-12 2020-06-12 10.5210/fm.v25i7.10830 Digital skills and political participation in northeast Anatolia, Turkey <p>The study examines the relationship between digital skills and political participation, while controlling for political capital and exposure to political information via social media. Digital skills are conceptualized in four sub-types (operational, formal, informational, and strategic) and political participation in three sub-types (online, off-line, and civic participation). The study examines a non-Western sample drawn from the northeastern region of Turkey (<em>n</em> = 400), and data were collected through performance tests developed by van Deursen and van Dijk (2011), and respondents were surveyed regarding their political participation, demographic characteristics, political capital, and exposure to information about politics. Analysis involved exploratory factor analysis for data reduction and OLS regression. Findings indicate that digital skills of each type positively influence political participation and, similarly, exposure to political content through social media and political capital have positive effects on political participation. Digital skills most strongly predict civic and online political participation types, but are empirically unrelated to off-line political participation activities. The study examines a previously unstudied population in the non-Western context of northeast Anatolia, which is a novel empirical test considering nearly all previous studies have examined Western populations. While the overall effect that digital skills positively associate with political participation is generally confirmed, this study reports a nuance that may be culturally specific. In previous studies, digital skill has most strongly influenced online participation forms, while in the Turkish context civic participation is more strongly associated with digital skills.</p> Duygu Özsoy Eyyup Akbulut Sait Sinan Atılgan Glenn Muschert Copyright (c) 2020 First Monday 2020-06-23 2020-06-23 10.5210/fm.v25i7.10854 Digital capital and online activities: An empirical analysis of the second level of digital divide <p>This paper explores inequalities in using the Internet by investigating several digital activities that require different levels of digital capital. Data collected in the U.K. through an online survey of a national representative sample (868 respondents) shows that levels of digital capital and type and quality of online activities are intertwined. The analysis shows that digital capital, conceived and measured as a specific capital, is entangled with the frequency/intensity of social, economic/financial means, ordinary/daily entertainment, and political activities, but not with learning-related activities. This work contributes to the literature in both empirical and theoretical terms by testing the reliability of digital capital and expanding its use to investigate digital inequalities. From a policy-making point of view, the awareness of citizens’ level of digital capital may help tailor initiatives to support citizens in using ICTs on a wide array of fields, such as job seeking, sociability, savings, familial relationships, and several online activities. Finally, this paper highlights that digital inequalities cannot be tackled by considering access and competence separately. By contrast, the adoption of measures that synthesise the two dimensions might help simplify policy-making’s initiatives to tackle digital inequalities.</p> Maria Laura Ruiu Massimo Ragnedda Copyright (c) 2020 First Monday 2020-06-25 2020-06-25 Building online skills in off-line realities <p>The growth rate of new Internet users has declined over the past few years, despite billions of dollars being spent on attempting to provide access and get people connected. Yet, the focus on simply getting more people connected is — and always will be — insufficient, because lack of access is not the central problem. Skills to navigate, identify, evaluate, effectively use, and create information are what’s truly missing. Information literacy and digital proficiency must accompany connectivity, or else inequalities — digital and otherwise — continue to worsen. This article draws from the literature on digital inclusion and information literacy to make the case that empowering, Internet-ready skills will only be developed if a concerted effort is made to build these skills. We argue that Internet-ready skills, such as how to carry out research, and how to distinguish whether information is trustworthy or not, can be — and indeed, may best be — taught in an off-line environment, before the Internet reaches the as-yet-unconnected. We draw from the in-field experience of the SolarSPELL (Solar Powered Educational Learning Library) initiative. SolarSPELL is an ultra-portable, rugged, solar-powered, digital library that generates an off-line WiFi hotspot to which any WiFi-capable device can connect and freely surf the library’s expansive, localized content. The innovative, solar-powered technology means that the library can reach those in off-grid, unconnected locations. Yet, what distinguishes the SolarSPELL initiative’s approach to introducing digital technology to schools is that the libraries are matched with locally based trainers who can support the necessary development of Internet-ready skills.</p> Laura Hosman Coreen Walsh Martín Pérez Comisso Jared Sidman Copyright (c) 2020 First Monday 2020-06-15 2020-06-15 10.5210/fm.v25i7.10839 Digital inequalities: Homework gap and techno-capital in Austin, Texas <p>The homework gap is a term that has come to describe the 15 percent or more of American children who cannot complete their homework after the school day ends because they lack access to broadband and computers (Anderson and Perrin, 2018). This statistic encompasses different economic, socio-cultural, and geographic factors. As a result, historically underprivileged groups of children are overrepresented in the homework gap space. Children without access to high-speed Internet or computers at home face challenges in school achievement. This study investigates the cultural, social, and technological aspects that contribute to the homework gap. The results are based on data from a survey conducted in collaboration with the city of Austin, Texas and several non-profit organizations that offer Internet and technology services to disadvantaged communities. The goal of this study is to investigate the role that demographics, technological skills, and attitudes toward technology play in the homework gap. We find that education and income levels are negatively correlated with high levels of homework gap, while age is positively correlated. Moreover, the possession of intermediate levels of techno-capital is inversely correlated to parents and caregivers’ perceptions of the homework gap.</p> Melissa Santillana Joe Sraubhaar Alexis Schrubbe Jaewon Choi Sharon Strover Copyright (c) 2020 First Monday 2020-06-26 2020-06-26 10.5210/fm.v25i7.10860 ICT policies in Latin America: Long-term inequalities and the role of globalized policy-making <p>ICT policies have been presented as one of the keys for inclusion in the global economy. For instance, in countries like Peru, the need for increased connectivity appears crucial, as integration to the global economy through free trade agreements with developed economies becomes an essential part of economic policy. However, it can be argued that the actual impact of such policies is marginal, and that the actual policy-making process is not helping, as much as competition, at the local telecommunications markets. At the same time, other elements composing an ICT strategy, including cultural and social aspects, are weakly presented. After discussing the facts, an exploration of the limitations of state policy is drawn from the combined conceptual frameworks of Rodrik’s notion of the Trilemma of Global Economy and Held’s Vicious Gridlock. Also, the analysis of policy-making in Latin America and Peru by local scholars is explored to propose that digital inequalities are only addressable by market forces under the current policy arrangement available to governments like Peru’s. Finally, the article argues that it is needed to both abandon “information society” as a policy trend and instead, confront the decreasing political capacities of emerging states to thus, influence the outcomes of telecommunications/media development investments in their regions and countries.</p> Eduardo Villanueva-Mansilla Copyright (c) 2020 First Monday 2020-06-27 2020-06-27 Connecting research to policy: Understanding macro and micro policy-makers and their processes <p>This article provides a real-time blueprint for connecting academic research and expertise to the policy-making process. While some academic research exists on how researchers in various social science fields can use their professional expertise to inform policy, it is not voluminous, and what does exist contains significant gaps. In reviewing the literature, much of the existing research excludes input from those engaged in the policy-making process. Further, the research often applies models retroactively to policy in general. Instead of describing the process of policy engagement, most research looks at policy broadly with hindsight and tries to apply a theoretical model to describe what has happened. This article combines academic research with an autoethnographic approach and addresses the difficulty of identifying the correct policy-maker, translating complex research findings into digestible policy recommendations, and then communicating those findings to policy-makers. The research applies to multiple disciplines and provides researchers with tools and a systematic process that can be employed in real-time to convert research and expertise into policy.</p> Lloyd Levine Copyright (c) 2020 First Monday 2020-06-27 2020-06-27 10.5210/fm.v25i7.10866 Digital inequalities in time of pandemic: COVID-19 exposure risk profiles and new forms of vulnerability <p>In this article, we argue that new kinds of risk are emerging with the COVID-19 virus, and that these risks are unequally distributed. As we expose to view, digital inequalities and social inequalities are rendering certain subgroups significantly more vulnerable to exposure to COVID-19. Vulnerable populations bearing disproportionate risks include the social isolated, older adults, penal system subjects, digitally disadvantaged students, gig workers, and last-mile workers. Therefore, we map out the intersection between COVID-19 risk factors and digital inequalities on each of these populations in order to examine how the digitally resourced have additional tools to mitigate some of the risks associated with the pandemic. We shed light on how the ongoing pandemic is deepening key axes of social differentiation, which were previously occluded from view. These newly manifested forms of social differentiation can be conceived along several related dimensions. At their most general and abstract, these risks have to do with the capacity individuals have to control the risk of pathogen exposure. In order to fully manage exposure risk, individuals must control their physical environment to the greatest extent possible in order to prevent contact with potentially compromised physical spaces. In addition, they must control their social interactional environment to the greatest extent possible in order to minimize their contacts with potentially infected individuals. All else equal, those individuals who exercise more control over their exposure risk — on the basis of their control over their physical and social interactional environments — stand a better chance of staying healthy than those individuals who cannot manage exposure risk. Individuals therefore vary in terms of what we call their <em>COVID-19 exposure risk profile (CERPs)</em>. CERPs hinge on preexisting forms of social differentiation such as socioeconomic status, as individuals with more economic resources at their disposal can better insulate themselves from exposure risk. Alongside socioeconomic status, one of the key forms of social differentiation connected with CERPs is digital (dis)advantage. <em>Ceteris paribus</em>, individuals who can more effectively digitize key parts of their lives enjoy better CERPs than individuals who cannot digitize these life realms. Therefore we believe that digital inequalities are directly and increasingly related to both life-or-death exposure to COVID-19, as well as excess deaths attributable to the larger conditions generated by the pandemic.</p> Laura Robinson Jeremy Schulz Aneka Khilnani Hiroshi Ono Shelia R. Cotten Noah McClain Lloyd Levine Wenhong Chen Gejun Huang Antonio A. Casilli Paola Tubaro Matías Dodel Anabel Quan-Haase Maria Laura Ruiu Massimo Ragnedda Deb Aikat Natalia Tolentino Copyright (c) 2020 First Monday 2020-06-20 2020-06-20 10.5210/fm.v25i7.10845