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Digital Divide among youth: socio‐cultural factors and implications

Peter Parycek (Danube University Krems, Krems, Austria)
Michael Sachs (Danube University Krems, Krems, Austria)
Judith Schossböck (Danube University Krems, Krems, Austria)

Interactive Technology and Smart Education

ISSN: 1741-5659

Article publication date: 20 September 2011




This paper aims to examine socio‐cultural differences in internet use (Digital Divide) among 14‐year‐old Austrian pupils, in particular usage scenarios and research competences. It is based on a paper presented at the International Association for the Development of the Information Society e‐Society conference, 10‐13 March 2011, Spain (Parycek et al., 2011).


The interpretation follows the results of a study conducted in 2009 and 2010 in school computer labs. The study design includes an online survey, a questionnaire and a cloze test.


The results give evidence that a Digital Divide in Austria exists even among teenagers, in particular in relation to gender, socio‐economic status and school type.

Research limitations/implications

As the survey was done with 14‐year‐old pupils, the results are limited to this age group. However, the target group enables researchers to relate the results to the main two school types in Austria, as pupils attend either of these schools at this age.

Practical implications

The findings of the survey were communicated to the Federal Ministry for Education, Arts and Culture of Austria. They provide a basis for target‐group specific projects aiming at enhancing e‐literacy among Austrian youth.


The focus on 14‐year‐old pupils allows for a more detailed analysis of the Digital Divide within this age group in three regions of Austria. The study provides detailed data on the search behavior of young people due to an integrated test element that tracked pupils' surf paths.



Parycek, P., Sachs, M. and Schossböck, J. (2011), "Digital Divide among youth: socio‐cultural factors and implications", Interactive Technology and Smart Education, Vol. 8 No. 3, pp. 161-171.



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Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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