The Web Science Trust

Trends in the Internet and media use in the early 2000s

Räsänen, Pekka and Turpeinen, Marko (2009) Trends in the Internet and media use in the early 2000s. In: Proceedings of the WebSci'09: Society On-Line, 18-20 March 2009, Athens, Greece. (In Press)

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The academic researchers and policy-makers alike share the view that the citizens’ media reading skills are very important for the future social welfare in the advanced societies. Particularly the new information and communication technologies (ICTs) are seen as tools for the advancement of work of the private sector companies and public sector organizations. Various governance activities, for example, can be integrated with the help of on-line transactions between citizens and authorities. However, the proliferation of ICTs and differences in the media use patterns seem also to connect with the existing social inequalities. It is known, for instance, that the poor and less-educated individuals tend to read less books and newspapers than others. These social groups also use the Internet clearly more infrequently that most other groups. The paper examines the use of the Internet and conventional media from the perspective of European welfare societies. It is asked to what extent European countries show similar and different patterns of use with each other. In particular, the interest is to estimate these similarities and differences at the population level. It is also evaluated whether certain countries are more homogeneous with each other as some others. In theoretical sense, we ask whether it is possible or not to categorize countries by using certain classification criteria such as regional proximity or a welfare state typology. The data consists of the European Social Survey data (ESS) from 2002, 2004 and 2006. ESS data were collected by face-to-face interviews in 30 European countries. The data represent the residential populations of these countries aged 15 and older. The total number of cases ranges from approximately fifteen hundred to two thousand cases from each country per year. In the analysis, the dependent measures consist of the frequencies of television watching newspaper reading, and the use of the Internet. Our special focus is in the average time devoted on news; politics and current affairs. Along with the country of residence, age, gender, education, and income are used as the independent measures. It is concluded in the paper that there are certain recognisable cultural characteristics attached to both the Internet use and conventional media consumption in different parts of Europe. Results indicate that there are considerable disparities between population groups when these patterns are examined in statistical models. Particularly the existence of the differences by age groups is important in the light of prevailing demographic structures. On the basis of the findings, it is argued that political assumptions, according to which the contemporary structural inequalities can be smoothed when more extensive ICT infrastructures will be provided for consumers, are just too simplistic.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Poster)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Digital divide, Cross-country comparisons
Subjects:Web Science Events > Web Science 2009
ID Code:194
Deposited By: W S T Administrator
Deposited On:24 Jan 2009 08:45
Last Modified:16 Mar 2009 23:42

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