Date of Award

5-2010

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Legacy Department

Applied Sociology

Advisor

Luo, Ye

Committee Member

Sturkie , Kinly

Committee Member

Haller , William

Abstract

This study examines the current trend of digital divide. Social stratification is present not only in social life, but also in the application of information technology. Digital divisions based on unequal access to and usage of the Internet are not uncommon. The analysis of the digital divide over time can reveal the trends of social inequality in daily life. This study reviews previous research on the digital divide and examines the current trends of the digital divide using data from 2000 to 2005 Pew Internet & American Life Project. The research explores differences in several Internet usages among various demographic groups. Popular online activities, such as emailing, hobby searching, use the Internet for work, online shopping, and search engines usage, are chosen to represent daily Internet usage. Demographic characteristics include age, gender, race, income and education. Most findings from this study are consistent with my hypotheses and with what were found in previous studies. The results show that the digital divide as reflected in these online activities still exists and is deepening over time. More and more people are involved in the digital world, but they don't have equal time for online activities. People with lower socio-economic status tend to be less active online, such as older people, black people, and people with lower level of education and income. In addition, over time, the gap between sociodemographic groups has increased to some extent, especially in racial divide and income divide. People with disadvantageous social and economic status still stay in disadvantageous status in the digital world.

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Sociology Commons

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