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Internet usage in an offline world - a study of the digital divide in Cuba

Solis Andrade, Lila G. (2016) Internet usage in an offline world - a study of the digital divide in Cuba.

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Abstract:The digital divide has been an important academic distress over the last twenty years. While the first generation of studies of the digital divide focused only on physical and material Internet access, recent research has considered the importance of skills and usage gaps. Although Western literature has moved in this direction, in developing countries such as Cuba, inequalities of access are still visible. Therefore, this study seeks to bring to light meaningful insights of the first and second level of digital divide, as well as the socio-demographic factors that influence the digital divide in a country with the most restricting media environments in the world. Online and offline surveys were conducted over a period of four weeks in June 2016. The target group of this study was young people with at least six months of Internet experience both from inside and outside the capital. A total of 106 surveys were analysed. Results show that although a small number of Cubans have access to Internet at work, access limitations greatly restrict Cubans’ Internet use. This study shows that Cubans access to the Internet mainly through desktops, have a positive attitude towards Internet and use the Internet for social and networking purposes. One of the biggest contributions to the Digital divide field is that Cubans use the Internet for the same purposes no matter the educational level and gender. Low and high-educated people use the Internet for the same reasons. Likewise, women and men have the same Internet skills, opposite to what is observed in research. Other important contribution is that this research serves as baseline-work for those who are interested in engaging more directly with Cuba. Future research needs to move beyond the study of access to the Internet to track the benefits of the Internet, the type of content consumed and the social exclusion. The general conclusion is that Cuba will rapid adopt the Internet, if access restrictions are raised.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:05 communication studies
Programme:Communication Studies MSc (60713)
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