Balea [Abstract]

The role of smartphones in increasing digital and social inequalities among Romanian children
[Full text]

Bianca Balea [1]

Abstract:  The emergence of new mobile devices such as Smartphones and tablets in children’s everyday life has facilitated the rise of Internet private use among them, making it possible for them to go online at anytime and anywhere. As studies show, ownership and private use of a Smartphone shape the quality of children’s online experience in a meaningful way (Mascheroni & Cuman, 2014). Accordingly, a broader range of access locations and devices relates to more unsupervised access and thus more independent use of the Internet, which are likely to be related to higher skill levels. This paper aims to investigate, using linear and multilinear regressions, whether owning or having access to Smartphones leads to increasing digital inequalities among children. Results show that demographic variables are significant predictors for the level of Smartphone related skills. However, when variables related with children’s Smartphone and Internet use are introduced in the model, the influence of demographic variables is reduced, showing evidence for second-level of digital divide among children. The present study reports on the Net Children Go Mobile dataset. The project collected data in 2013 from random stratified survey samples of around 500 children aged 9-16, who are Internet users, in seven European country, including Romania. For the purpose of this paper, only responses from Romanian children were taken into account (N=522).

Keywords: Digital skills, internet skills, digital inequalities, access and use of new devices, second-level of digital divide

[1] Faculty of Sociology and Social Work, Babes Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca Romania,