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Unrealized Potential : Exploring the Digital Disability Divide


Dobransky, Kerry; Hargittai, Eszter (2016). Unrealized Potential : Exploring the Digital Disability Divide. Poetics, 58:18-28.

Abstract

While the digital inequality literature has considered differences in the online experiences of many population segments, relatively little work has examined how people with disabilities (PWD) have incorporated digital media into their lives. Based on a national survey of American adults, this paper explores this question through considering both barriers to Internet use and the possibilities the Internet offers PWD. Findings indicate barriers for many PWD to accessing the Internet. Those with five of six types of disabilities measured are considerably less likely to be online than those who are not disabled. People who are deaf or hearing impaired to do not lag in Internet access once we account for demographics, Web use skills, and Internet experiences. However, the study also finds evidence that once online, PWD engage in a range of uses of the Internet as much as people without disability. Moreover, PWD take distinct interest in certain online activities, such as sharing their own content and reviewing products and services, pointing to ways they may go online to adapt and respond to the wider inaccessible society. These findings indicate
great potential for the Internet for people with disabilities and suggest that moving more of them online holds the potential for considerable gains among this group.

Abstract

While the digital inequality literature has considered differences in the online experiences of many population segments, relatively little work has examined how people with disabilities (PWD) have incorporated digital media into their lives. Based on a national survey of American adults, this paper explores this question through considering both barriers to Internet use and the possibilities the Internet offers PWD. Findings indicate barriers for many PWD to accessing the Internet. Those with five of six types of disabilities measured are considerably less likely to be online than those who are not disabled. People who are deaf or hearing impaired to do not lag in Internet access once we account for demographics, Web use skills, and Internet experiences. However, the study also finds evidence that once online, PWD engage in a range of uses of the Internet as much as people without disability. Moreover, PWD take distinct interest in certain online activities, such as sharing their own content and reviewing products and services, pointing to ways they may go online to adapt and respond to the wider inaccessible society. These findings indicate
great potential for the Internet for people with disabilities and suggest that moving more of them online holds the potential for considerable gains among this group.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Department of Communication and Media Research
Dewey Decimal Classification:700 Arts
Uncontrolled Keywords:Digital divide , Digital inequality , Internet skills , Disability , Impairment , Disability culture , Accessibility , Surveys , Online participation , Online engagement
Language:English
Date:19 September 2016
Deposited On:20 Feb 2018 11:20
Last Modified:13 Apr 2018 11:35
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0304-422X
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.poetic.2016.08.003

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Embargo till: 2019-09-19