Internet access for disabled people: Understanding socio-relational factors in Europe
Access to the Internet has become a sine qua non-of everyday life. It also offers new routes to economic and social inclusion for disabled people. Research on the digital divide shows that social factors affect Internet access but disability status is often overlooked. This paper assesses the extent to which disability makes a difference and how it interacts with other social effects to produce distinctive forms of digital exclusion. The analysis uses survey data from 27 European countries to explore and model, statistically, the interactions between Internet access, disability status, age, gender, education, household financial situation and household composition. Multilevel analysis confirms that socio-demographic factors can explain much variance in outcomes but there is a distinctive disability effect. In particular, the adverse effects of financial constraint, aging and living alone are exacerbated among disabled people. New policies to strengthen e-accessibility, arising from the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and from the European Union, are important but cannot ignore those who are still excluded from the online revolution. Disabled people are over-represented in this group. The evidence suggests that both accessible technologies and appropriate supportive relationships are needed to address this.
Adam, A., & Kreps, D. (2009). Disability and discourses of web accessibility. Information, Communication and Society, 12, 1041-1058. https://doi.org/10.1080/13691180802552940
Bakardjieva, M. (2005). Internet society: The Internet in everyday life. London, Thousand Oaks, New Delphi: Sage.
Bargh, J. A., & McKenna, K. Y. (2004). The Internet and social life. Annual Review of Psychology, 55, 573-590. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev.psych.55.090902.141922
Cullen, R. (2003). The digital divide: A global and national call to action. The Electronic Library, 21, 313-334. https://doi.org/10.1108/02640470310480506
Dobransky, K., & Hargittai, E. (2006). The disability divide in internet access and use. Information, Communication and Society. 9, 313-334. https://doi.org/10.1080/13691180600751298
Disability Rights Commission (2004). The web: Access and inclusion for disabled people. London: TSO.
Easton, C. (2013). An examination of the Internet’s development as a disabling environment in the context of the social model of disability and anti-discrimination legislation in the UK and USA. Universal Access in the Information Society, 12, 105-144.
EC. (2007). Assessment of the Status of eAccessibility in Europe. European Commission.
EC. (2008). Accessibility to ICT Products and services by Disabled and Elderly People. European Commission.
EC. (2010). European Disability Strategy 2010-2020: A Renewed Commitment to a Barrier-Free Europe. European Commission.
European Commission and European Parliament (2012). Eurobarometer 77.4 (2012). TNS OPINION & SOCIAL, Brussels [Producer]. GESIS Data Archive, Cologne. ZA5613 Data file Version 3.0.0, https://doi.org/10.4232/1.12049
Eurostat (2016a). Internet access and use statistics - households and individuals (Online) Available at: http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php/Internet_access_and_use_statistics_-_households_and_individuals
Eurostat (2016b). Disability statistics - prevalence and demographics. (Online) Available at: http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php/Disability_statistics_-_prevalence_and_demographics
Goggin, G., & Newell, C. (2000). An end to disabling policies? Towards enlightened universal service. The Information Society, 16, 127– 34. https://doi.org/10.1080/01972240050032889
Grammenos, S. (2015). European comparative data on Europe 2020 & people with disabilities. Centre for European Social and Economic Policy (CESEP ASBL) on behalf of the Academic Network of European Disability Experts (ANED). Leeds/Utrecht
Greenfield, D., & Davis, R. (2002). Lost in cyberspace: The web @ work. CyberPsychology & Behavior, 5, 347-353. https://doi.org/10.1089/109493102760275590
Hargittai, E. (2001). Second-level digital divide: Mapping differences in people's online skills. arXiv preprint cs/0109068.
Norris, P. (2001). Digital divide: Civic engagement, information poverty, and the Internet worldwide. Cambridge University Press.
OECD (2001). Understanding the Digital Divide, OECD, Paris.
Oliver, M. (1990) The Politics of Disablement: A Sociological Approach, London: Palgrave Macmillan
Pilling, D., Barrett, P., & Floyd, M. (2004). Disabled people and the Internet: experiences, barriers and opportunities. York, UK: Joseph Rowntree Foundation.
Ragnedda, M., & Muschert, G. W. (Eds.) (2013). The digital divide: The Internet and social inequality in international perspective (Vol. 73). London and New York: Routledge.
Sevron, L. J. (2002). Bridging the digital divide: Technology, community and public policy. Malden, MA: Blackwell.
Van Deursen, A. J., & Van Dijk, J. A. (2014). The digital divide shifts to differences in usage. New Media & Society, 16, 507-526. https://doi.org/10.1177/1461444813487959
Vincente, M. R., & Lopez, A. J. (2010). A multidimensional analysis of the disability digital divide: Some evidence for Internet use. The Information Society, 26, 48-64. https://doi.org/10.1080/01615440903423245
Wall, P. S. & Sarver, L. (2003). Disabled student access in an era of technology. Internet and Higher Education, 6, 277-284. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1096-7516(03)00046-0
Warschauer, M. (2004). Technology and social inclusion: Rethinking the digital divide. Cambridge and London: MIT press.
Wellman, B., & Haythornthwaite, C. (Eds.). (2008). The Internet in everyday life. John Wiley & Sons.
Crossref Cited-by (19)
1. Self as enterprise: digital disability practices of entrepreneurship and employment in the wave of ‘Internet + disability’ in China
Zhongxuan Lin, Zhi’an Zhang, Liu Yang
Information, Communication & Society vol: 22, issue: 4, first page: 554, year: 2019
2. Особливості підтримуваного працевлаштування молоді із синдромом Дауна: психологічний аспект
Теоретичні і прикладні проблеми психології issue: 3(50)T3, first page: 241, year: 2019
3. Determinants of ICT usage for healthcare among people with disabilities: The moderating role of technological and behavioural constraints
Mohammad Afshar Ali, Khorshed Alam, Brad Taylor
Journal of Biomedical Informatics vol: 108, first page: 103480, year: 2020
4. Social media and disability advocacy organizations: caught between hopes and realities
Stefan Gelfgren, Jens Ineland, Coppélie Cocq
Disability & Society first page: 1, year: 2021
5. The gap not only closes: Resistance and reverse shifts in the digital divide in Russia
Telecommunications Policy vol: 44, issue: 8, first page: 102004, year: 2020
6. Understanding the Digital Gap Among US Adults With Disability: Cross-Sectional Analysis of the Health Information National Trends Survey 2013
Eun Ji Kim, Yiyang Yuan, Jane Liebschutz, Howard Cabral, Lewis Kazis
JMIR Rehabilitation and Assistive Technologies vol: 5, issue: 1, first page: e3, year: 2018
7. Vulnerable people’s digital inclusion: intersectionality patterns and associated lessons
Information, Communication & Society first page: 1, year: 2021
8. Support persons’ views on remote communication and social media for people with communicative and cognitive disabilities
Margret Buchholz, Ulrika Ferm, Kristina Holmgren
Disability and Rehabilitation vol: 42, issue: 10, first page: 1439, year: 2020
9. Well-Being in the Information Society. Fighting Inequalities
Anne-Marie Tuikka, Hannu Vesala, Antti Teittinen
ISBN 978-3-319-97931-1 Chapter 13, first page: 162, year: 2018
10. Information and communication technology use in daily life among young adults with mild-to-moderate intellectual disability
Camilla Ramsten, Lene Martin, Munir Dag, Lena Marmstål Hammar
Journal of Intellectual Disabilities vol: 24, issue: 3, first page: 289, year: 2020
11. The Palgrave Handbook of Disability at Work
ISBN 978-3-030-42966-9 Chapter 26, first page: 451, year: 2020
12. Surveying Vocational Rehabilitation Applicants Online: A Feasibility Study
Jesse J. Chandler
Journal of Disability Policy Studies vol: 30, issue: 3, first page: 164, year: 2019
13. Is digital inclusion fighting disability stigma? Opportunities, barriers, and recommendations
Disability & Society first page: 1, year: 2020
14. ‘I feel valued’: the experience of social networking site engagement among people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in South Korea
Kyung Mee Kim, Xueqin Qian
International Journal of Developmental Disabilities first page: 1, year: 2019
15. Disability digital divide: the use of the internet, smartphones, computers and tablets among people with disabilities in Sweden
Stefan Johansson, Jan Gulliksen, Catharina Gustavsson
Universal Access in the Information Society vol: 20, issue: 1, first page: 105, year: 2021
16. Factors affecting smartphone online activity use in South Korea: with a focus on the moderating effect of disability status
Kyung Mee Kim, Ju Hee Hwang
Universal Access in the Information Society year: 2020
17. Social Media as a Disguise and an Aid: Disabled Women in the Cyber Workforce in China
Jing Zheng, Yuxin Pei, Ya Gao
Social Inclusion vol: 8, issue: 2, first page: 104, year: 2020
18. Digital inclusion of people with disabilities: a qualitative study of intra-disability diversity in the digital realm
Behaviour & Information Technology vol: 39, issue: 9, first page: 995, year: 2020
19. Web Accessibility for People with Disabilities in the European Union: Paving the Road to Social Inclusion
Delia Ferri, Silvia Favalli
Societies vol: 8, issue: 2, first page: 40, year: 2018