.: Gender and ICT : digital divide in Flanders :.
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Information and Communication Technology (ICT) fulfils an increasingly important role in our daily life. These digital media have invaded our society at various levels, such as family life, the work environment and even leisure activities. Thus, society is increasingly digitalised. To keep up and not be overtaken by progress, it is necessary to control various computer aptitudes. Those who cannot use a computer could indeed be confronted with various problems in future.
An important factor of this digital divide is made up by the differences between the sexes. Worldwide, men still have better access to ICT than women, they are the first to adopt the new media and they make greater use of ICT than women. Men also have greater experience of information technology, are more regular users, master the Internet and adopt a more positive attitude with respect to the ICT.
In our survey, we examine not only the differences between the sexes in the use of the ICT among Flemish adults, but we also focus on 12 to17 years old. Since these girls and boys grew up together in the new information society, one might expect that they benefited from comparable socialisation to the media. We note however that they develop divergent types of use of the media. Girls and boys use ICT in equal numbers, but they use these digital media with different purposes. Boys spend more time on ITC than girls, are more confident in their capacity to use these digital media and have less fear of the computers than girls.
This study was carried out by means of a quantitative and qualitative integrated research method.
Agnetha Broos is a PhD research assistant at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
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