We can see here a very clear “digital divide”. Within countries, we have also found a digital divide, explained mostly by socioeconomic status. To investigate this more closely, we have included a digital module in our latest survey round (Round 5) which will collect information on access to, use of, and skills on digital devices and internet across the four countries.
After examining different formats of items to measure skills, we decided, based on the literature and a pilot test in all countries, that self-reporting was the more valid way to capture the constructs of interest. The items we used in Round 5 were adapted from a variety of sources (see list of references below). The module was included for both the younger and older cohort in each country, so that we can compare if there is a difference within each country.
Specifically, the module includes questions on access and use of computer or laptops, tablets, internet, and mobile phones with internet access (e.g. Smartphone). Some of these are items repeated from previous rounds of YL, so that we can compare indicators over time. In the Round 5 household surveys, we have included items on the frequency of use and age of first use. We included questions on whether the child had an e-mail or social network account, as this would signal engagement with internet communication networks. Our module also includes questions on skills related to computer software. This included mastery of basic digital skills related to file management tasks, operations, text functions, and special operations in office programs or applications. We also included items on skills using internet. These items measured abilities in operational activities, information navigation activities, and creative activities.