Journal section "Social and economic development"

The Age Factor in the Digital Divide: The Edges of Inequality

Gruzdeva M.A.

Volume 15, Issue 4, 2022

Gruzdeva M.A. (2022). The age factor in the digital divide: The edges of inequality. Economic and Social Changes: Facts, Trends, Forecast, 15(4), 228–241. DOI: 10.15838/esc.2022.4.82.14

DOI: 10.15838/esc.2022.4.82.14

Abstract   |   Authors   |   References
At the end of the 1990s – beginning of the 2000s, due to the spread of the Internet at an increasing rate in certain countries, while others were lagging behind, it became necessary to study the digital gap issues. At the present stage, when the existence of the digital divide in the world and individual states is obvious and proven, researchers have focused on studying its factors. The article aims to assess the influence of the age factor on the scale and prevalence of the digital divide within a three-level model. To do this, we consider theoretical and methodological approaches to studying the age factor of the digital divide; we analyze trends in the use of information and communication technologies by representatives of various age groups, and the inclusion of children, adolescents and the elderly in the digital environment. The model of three levels of the digital divide developed by modern scientists is used as a theoretical basis. According to the model, inequality manifests itself in access to technical means, differences in the digital literacy, and the benefits derived from digitalization. In the course of the work, we use a set of general scientific methods. We reveal significant differences in the practices of using personal computers and the Internet among representatives of different age groups and calculate the time periods necessary to reduce intergenerational gaps in Russia and the Vologda Oblast. We assess the impact of online habits on a person’s life, the purposes of using the Internet and the possibility of receiving bonuses from it, the availability of digital skills for various age groups of Vologda Oblast population. The scientific novelty of the study consists in assessing the influence of the age factor on the prevalence of digital gap parameters at the regional level. The results can be used for identifying the groups that are at risk of being excluded from the processes of digital development. The findings will be also useful in formulating the relevance of social retraining programs for the able-bodied population in accordance with the requirements of new jobs, in teaching older people digital skills, and in making managerial decisions for successful digital development


youth, internet, elderly people, older people, information and communication technologies, digital skills, digital divide, age factor, middle-aged people, Internet

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