Recent empirical evidence suggests that the so-called ‘digital divide’ persists in both Europe and North America. The purpose of this (follow-up) study is to establish whether the digital divide persists in Flanders and, if so, to examine its extent and main contours. The results suggest that, although showing signs of diminishing, the digital divide is still very much in place and is still structured along classic socio-demographic lines such as gender, age, level of education, and occupational status.
This research note investigates the socio-demographics of one aspect of the ‘digital divide’, namely computer use and attitudes. The results are drawn from a large-scale survey of computer use and attitudes among the adult population of Flanders. They show that computer non-use and negative attitudes towards digital developments, far from being limited to relatively small segments of society, are reported by over 40% of respondents. Regression analyses indicate that level of education is the strongest predictor variable of computer disquietude, followed by age and then gender. The implications of these results are briefly discussed.
Recent research predicts the narrowing of the gender gap concerning new media use. This article presents the results of a quantitative study (n = 1058) of the gender gap in Flanders. Significant gender differences were found with men having more access to, and making more use of computers, the Internet and e-mail. In general, females reported more negative attitudes towards new media than men did. Thus, it appears that, despite American research indicating the opposite, in Flanders the gender gap is still very much in evidence. To contextualize the relationship between gender, computer anxiety, and attitudes a multiple regression analysis was carried out on socio-demographic variables and computer-related items. The results showed that, although gender remains a significant factor, it is computer experience which is the strongest predictor of computer anxiety and attitudes.