Digital Access and Inequality among Primary School Children in Rural Coimbatore

© Media Watch 6 (1) 103-123, 2015
ISSN 0976-0911 e-ISSN 2249-8818
DOI: 10.15655/mw/2015/v6i1/55397

Digital Access and Inequality among Primary School Children in Rural Coimbatore

Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, India

This paper examines the dynamics of access and exclusion in children’s Internet use, in both private and public school spaces and interrogates the role of socioeconomic and demographic predictors as well as the schooling system in shaping Internet habits. More specifically, it explores the nature of Internet use by primary school children, mainly for education and information and attempts to understand the differences across and within two types of schools- a rural public school and an elite private school. Through in-depth interviews, this research investigates the level of computer and Internet literacy among the primary school children in the age group of 8-10 years and reports the differences observed
among the various social dimensions. It attempts to stress the significance and need in today’s context to provide the opportunities for physical and material access so that disadvantaged children are not excluded from the digital opportunities.

Keywords: Digital inequality, Internet use, Internet access, Internet literacy, digital natives, digital exclusion, social inequality


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Sudha Venkataswamy is a senior faculty of communication at the Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham (University), Coimbatore, India. She is also holding the position of Vice-Chairperson of the Amrita School of Communication, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham. Her research interests include children and Internet use, gender inequality and stereotypes, digital opportunities and digital divide.