Integration and audience research: digital participation in the face of social semiexclusion
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Integration and audience research: digital participation in the face of social semiexclusion



This paper presents results from a research on digital inclusion and participation amongst deprived children in Portugal. Thanks to the national program to distribute laptops and mobile internet ...

This paper presents results from a research on digital inclusion and participation amongst deprived children in Portugal. Thanks to the national program to distribute laptops and mobile internet access, several of these children already have access to the internet, but the time spent online and the activities they conduct are limited by the type of access and usually by a lack of digitally competent parents.



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Integration and audience research: digital participation in the face of social semiexclusion Integration and audience research: digital participation in the face of social semiexclusion Document Transcript

  • Conference Paper “Transforming Audiences 3”, London 1-2 September 2011 Ponte et al.Integration and audience research: digital participation in the face of social semi-exclusioncristina.ponte@fcsh.unl.ptFaculdade de Ciências Sociais e Humanas, Universidade Nova de Lisboa– Av. Berna, 26C / 1069-061 Lisboa – PORTUGALCo-authors: José Alberto Simões, Ana Jorge, Ricardo Campos, Luciana Fernandes1AbstractThis paper presents results from a research on digital inclusion and participation amongstdeprived children in Portugal. Thanks to the national program to distribute laptops andmobile internet access, several of these children already have access to the internet, butthe time spent online and the activities they conduct are limited by the type of access andusually by a lack of digitally competent parents.In the scope of a funded international project on Digital Inclusion and Participation( focused on socially disadvantaged groups, we adapted partof the EU Kids Online survey to study 9 to 16-year-olds that use the Digital InclusionCentres in the Escolhas [Choices] Program, which is part of a public policy for socialinclusion. A selected group of questions on access, frequency, activities, skills andmediations were adapted and asked to these children.After discussing the concept of poverty and deprivation amongst children and presentinga brief portrait of the national context, this paper discusses results from the interviews(N294) focusing on the resources, activities and skills the deprived children and youngpeople in this study revealed.Deprived children and their media experienceIn contemporary societies, besides the relative social invisibility of children as a socialgroup, information and research on the most vulnerable groups of children areparticularly missing, namely on children living in poverty or in alternative care, fromethnic minorities or migrant children, thus being ignored their particular life experiencesfacing the mainstream reference of “being a child”. Fewer children but more children inpoverty were pointed out by Qvortrup (1994: xii) as an emerging social trend in European1 This research was conducted in the scope of Digital Inclusion and Participation project(UTAustin/CD/0016/2008), funded by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology, andcoordinated by Cristina Ponte (FCSH-UNL), Joseph Straubhaar (University of Texas at Austin) andJosé Azevedo (FL-UP). 1
  • Conference Paper “Transforming Audiences 3”, London 1-2 September 2011 Ponte et al.countries at the beginning of the 1990s that continues to be a reality: one in five childrenin the EU were at risk of poverty before the current economic crisis struck –approximately 20 million children, according to Eurostat (2010).There are many ways of defining poverty, ranging from absolute or relative definitionsbased on income to indicators of social inequality and deprivation. As far as children areconcerned, a move to indicators of child well-being has been recognized as particularlyrelevant for measuring their social inclusion (Bradshaw, 2007: 106). Among thoseindicators is their material, educational and subjective well-being, already explored inrecent UNICEF reports (UNICEF 2007, 2010). In fact, if children cannot function as"normal" members of society because they do not have access to the material goods thatothers deem necessary, then this indicator of deprivation is a useful one, pointsMontgomery (2009: 166). Under this perspective, for European low-income childreninternet represents “not a new opportunity but potentially a new danger, a new form ofdifference and exclusion”, as Ridge (2007: 174) reports: “as children’s social lives areincreasingly developed, explored and negotiated in the world of virtual time and space,new sites of social exclusion are emerging”, namely through “unsustainable consumptiondemands of high-tech accessories”.Even if disadvantaged children gain more internet access, they may remain relativelydisadvantaged both in terms of the quality of internet access they enjoy and because oneform of this disadvantage is generally correlated with others, e.g. parents’ available time,parental education and expertise, educational values at home, calm places to study in andso forth (Livingstone, 2009).As noted above, for socially marginalized children and young people, poverty is not onlythe scarcity of material or educational resources: it is also an internal construction of a selfthat makes certain choices unthinkable, from reading a book from the library in theirleisure times to considering an ambitious career in their future. As Montgomery (2009:170) points out, Bourdieu’s concepts of habitus (considering individual, familiar andsocietal dispositions) and social and cultural capitals (Bourdieu, 1979, 1993) are hereparticularly productive, taking the debate about poverty away from economics and thelack of material possessions and back to issues of deprivation and inequality, makingvisible the lack of various forms of cultural and social capital. On cultural capital one candistinct: institutional cultural capital (such as academic qualifications), embodied culturalcapital (the ways in which people use language, present themselves, display social 2
  • Conference Paper “Transforming Audiences 3”, London 1-2 September 2011 Ponte et al.competence or confidence and so on) and objectified cultural capital (their ownership oruse of material goods such as books or paintings). The social capital involves networks andconnections and how these networks are sustained.Based on her ethnographic research among children in the US, Ellen Seiter (2005) arguesthat, far from leveling class differences, the internet has deepened social divisions alongthe lines of class, race and ethnicity, both within and between countries. Middle-classchildren are not only likely to have better quality computers and software; they also arelikely to have much more informed support in using them from parents and other adults,and a greater access to social networks which will provide them with a sense ofmotivation and purpose in using such technology in the first place. By contrast, poorerchildren simply have less access to cultural goods and services: “they live not just indifferent social worlds, but in different media worlds as well” (Buckingham, 2007: 84).These different media worlds might be contrasted in the types of access to two levels ofdigital divide (Hargittai, 2002): a first level of digital divide means having access to digitaltechnologies, considering ownership and use; and a second level is related to the userprofiles, assuming that more advanced users will develop a more functional rather than anentertainment-oriented user profile. The differentiation hypothesis considering thatsociological variables continue to be important predictors including for the digitalgeneration (Peter and Valkenburg, 2006; Livingstone and Helsper, 2007) also confirmsthat idea. The exploration of how far the digital experience of particularly deprivedchildren goes nowadays is the aim of the current ongoing research. Preceding others thatwill focus on the second level of the digital divide, this paper is focused on the first level,also providing a contextualization of the participant children and youth.The Portuguese context and the Program EscolhasLiving the economic and cultural globalization from a semi-peripheral situation, Portugalstill experiences an “unfinished modernity” (Almeida & Costa, 1998). In the last twodecades, large transformations occurred in its demographic and structural compositionand in lifestyles, both having impacts on children’s and young people’s experiences: adecrease in birth rate among native families, one of the most accentuated in Europe; theincrease of recomposed families, which create more complex parental relations; thedifferences in the attainment levels of education among generations (low literate grand-parents; a majority of parents who attained only compulsory school; adolescents that that 3
  • Conference Paper “Transforming Audiences 3”, London 1-2 September 2011 Ponte et al.have already surpassed their parents’ schooling); the income gap among families, with25% of children living in poverty (INE, 2010).Being for decades a relatively closed and ethnically homogenous society, Portugal alsofaces the consolidation of a broader cultural and ethnical heterogeneity. Besides gipsyfamilies spread throughout the country, there is an increase of immigrant families, andtheir second generations, mostly concentrated in the capital area and in Algarve, andhaving more children than the Portuguese ones. Therefore, there is now a bigger diversityof children’s social and cultural backgrounds, as well as different paths and trajectories intheir families, both conditions placing relevant questions on social identities and socialinclusion and participation.As for the lifestyle changes, it could be mentioned the late arrival to consumption patternscompared to other contemporary societies, which have had an increasing expressionwithin the leisure cultures: the changes in the TV panorama (multiplicity of privatechannels entertainment-oriented) and in other mass media; an explosion of shoppingcentres attracting family outings; the embellishment of the households with individualizedtechnology, amongst them the digital technologies oriented to entertainment,communication and information à la carte (gaming consoles, DVD players, plasma TV,laptops, digital cameras, mobile phones and so on). These postmodern scenarios contrastwith low levels of informational literacy amongst adult generations. Among oldergenerations, shared childhood memories of poverty are combined with the willingness ofproviding their children with all the material comfort that they themselves had the lack of.This potpourri of pre-modern, modern and postmodern structures and values is markedby a high social inequality: amongst the 25 countries that participated in the EU KidsOnline survey, Portugal occupies the second highest position in the social inequality index(ratio of share of income or expenditure of the richest 10% to the poorest 10% of thepopulation), after Turkey and followed by the UK.In recent years, public policies have tried to change the educational scenarios, investingboth in adults and children, around Programs such as Novas Oportunidades [NewOpportunities], targeted at adults with low school attainment, the upgrade of schoolequipments (e.g. broadband access, digital boards) and stimulus to the industries toproduce and sell low cost laptops to students since the early years of schooling (ProgramsMagalhães and E-Escolas). By 2010, more than 800 thousand families had alreadyanswered positively to these Programs, considered as references for digital inclusion. 4
  • Conference Paper “Transforming Audiences 3”, London 1-2 September 2011 Ponte et al.Combining social and educational aims, Escolhas is a nationwide program aiming topromote social inclusion of children and young people (6-24 years old) from the mostvulnerable socio-economic contexts, particularly descendants of immigrants and ethnicminorities. Digital inclusion is one of its five priority areas of intervention, crosscuttingand cumulative with the others: school education, vocational training, communityparticipation and citizenship, and entrepreneurship. Its 132 centres are mostly placed inthe metropolitan areas of Lisbon and Oporto, created by local NGOs and working in theinner of vulnerable contexts, these being social housing, old buildings in the city center orslums in the suburbs. Each center is equipped with a minimum package of six PCs,broadband access and a printer. Digital activities include guidance, free activities, thoseaimed at developing skills and school success, and more formal ICT courses. Local teamsare composed by 3-4 technicians and include a young person living in the community andwho acts as mediator.Adapting the EU Kids Online questionnaire, collecting dataThese Escolhas centres were the scenario for our interviews with deprived children andyoung people, from 9 to 16, the same age range of EU Kids Online study. Our initial aimwas to compare as far as possible the national results of 1000 respondents, which arerepresentative, on access, uses, activities, skills and mediations with those from apurposive sample of children and young people attending those centres. Therefore, 23questions from the EU Kids Online face-to-face questionnaire were selected following, asmuch as possible, the protocols and guidelines for application and interviewing. However,a discussion with Escolhas local coordinators and animators made clear that even the 14+year-olds would be unable to answer many questions by themselves, therefore implyingthe reduction of sentences to a minimum of information as well as the number ofquestions. Issues such as the family composition - potentially sensitive for most childreninterviewed - were identified in those local meetings. Since many children did not seem tolive in structured families composed by both parents, the solution was starting thequestionnaire by asking the child: Who do you live with?, and adapting the questions onparental mediation to the adults which he/she lives with2.2The process of adapting the EU Kids Online questionnaire to this group of children and youngpeople is more developed in Ponte, Simões and Jorge (2011). 5
  • Conference Paper “Transforming Audiences 3”, London 1-2 September 2011 Ponte et al.At the end, the questionnaire was divided into two versions, one for the younger (9-13)and another for the older (14-16). The version for the 9-13 was designed as a structuredinterview of 30 questions, some of them open-ended questions: From this list of activities,what do you prefer? Why?; What are you forbidden to do on the internet?, and ending with asensitive question: And tell me what is for you using the internet in a safe way? How do youdo it? The version for the 14-16 was a self-completion questionnaire of 29 questions thatincluded a broader question on cultural interests and practices as well as three open-ended questions: From this list of activities, which do you prefer?; What is your blog about?,for those who declared having a blog, and the final one: We have asked you some questionsabout good and bad things that can happen on the internet. Is there anything you would liketo warn people of your own age about?The interviews were conducted between March and May 2011, in 19 Escolhas centres inthe urban areas of Lisbon and Oporto, where most of the centres were located. Childrenand young people were informed of the aims of the interview/questionnaire (e.g. examinetheir habits and uses of the internet). After being invited to fill the questionnaire andanswer the questions, they were told they would receive a gift at the end (a T-shirt with asafety message on the internet). While some refused to participate, others accepted theinvitation by answering with different levels of personal involvement. Among the 284respondents in this convenience sampling, all with internet access, age groups arerelatively balanced; still, differences among female and male participants express thereality of Escolhas: there are much more boys than girls attending the centres (Table 1).Table 1: Distribution of respondents per gender and age groups Indicator Frequency % Gender Female 96 34% Male 188 66% Age < 14 162 57% >= 14 122 43% Source: Escolhas questionnaire; Ponte, Simões and Jorge, 2011Families, media environments and the first level of the digital divideAlthough the different nature of the samplings imposes cautiousness and only partiallysome questions might be compared due to the complex process of length reduction andwording, it is interesting to look at the patterns of differences and similarities that emerge 6
  • Conference Paper “Transforming Audiences 3”, London 1-2 September 2011 Ponte et al.from the samples when they are side by side. Let’s start with the background of thefamilies and the conditions (Table 2). 7
  • Conference Paper “Transforming Audiences 3”, London 1-2 September 2011 Ponte et al.Table 2: Results from the EU Kids Online survey and from the Escolhas centres EU Kids Online Portugal Centros Escolhas Household composition Living with one adult 8% 7% Living with two adults 65% 20% Living with three adults 21% 25% Living with 4+ adults 5% 48% Family type Single parent 20% 31% Two parents 79% 52% Other 1% 6% Education and cultural among parents Primary education (9 years) or less 47% 92% Internet access at home No internet access 7% 29% At least one parent use the internet 60% 46% Devices for accessing the internet Personal laptop 65% 46% Personal PC 33% 17% Shared laptop 35% 37% Shared PC 35% 25% Game console 25% 12% Mobile devices 7% 3% TV 28% 8% Mobile phone 31% 25% Places of Access At home 87% 56% At school 72% 59% In a public library 25% In the Digital Inclusion Centre 79% Frequency of access Everyday or almost everyday 54% 56% Once or twice a week 39% 36% Once or twice a month 4% 6% Less than once or twice a month 3% 2% Source: Escolhas questionnaire; Ponte, Simões and Jorge, 2011In terms of family structure, the results highlight the differences in the households’composition: nuclear family is dominant in the national sample, while about half ofEscolhas children live in extended families with more than four adults in the household:grandparents (especially grandmothers), aunts, uncles and brothers and sisters-in law arerelatives that cohabit with the child and take care of him/her. This picture confirms thesensitivity of the family issues, and the need to avoid the implicit frame of the nuclearfamily model when asking questions on family mediation. 8
  • Conference Paper “Transforming Audiences 3”, London 1-2 September 2011 Ponte et al.School attainment and educational capital are one of the key sensitive points in Portugaldue to its socio-cultural history, with implications at all levels of social life, includingdigital inclusion. Nowadays adolescents might easily have more school attendance thantheir parents and grandparents, the latter frequently illiterate (35% of illiterate people in1960). Table 2 shows that nationwide almost half of households still have a parent thatdidnt reach the Secondary level (12 years of school), while amongthe Escolhas participants the percentage of parents having the Elementary level (9 years ofschool) or less almost reached the total sample (92%).While all children declared themselves as internet users the contexts of access clearlydiverge: whereas in the national sample only 7% don’t have internet access at home, in theEscolhas sample almost one in three children (29%) don’t have this access. The percentageof parents that are internet users is also below the national average: less than half (46%)of these children and youth have at least one member of the family that knows how to usethe internet, in particular the mother (49%) or father (44%), against 60% in the EU KidsOnline sample, both depicting families where children lead the use of the internet.With the exception of shared laptops, for Escolhas sample the devices for accessing theinternet are below the national average: less than half have a personal laptop, the devicethat is owned by about two in three children accessing the internet in Portugal.Furthermore, the comparison on the places of access shows that they find them realspaces for their internet access: almost all declare accessing the internet at CID centerswhile declaring a lower use of the internet at school and at home (four out of ten don’trefer neither the school nor the household as a place of access). Finally they don´t divergeso much from the EU Kids Online answers on the frequency of use, both being one of thelowest values in the European landscape.Hence, in spite of the democratization of the internet access among Portuguese children,there is scarcity of access and resources among deprived children and the first level ofdigital divide is real among young people. Furthermore, for a large part of those children,schools don’t seem to be realizing the inclusive work of facilitating the internet access anduse, and almost all live in families with very low levels of educational capital.Consequences of these constraints, either at home or at school, are visible in the activities. 9
  • Conference Paper “Transforming Audiences 3”, London 1-2 September 2011 Ponte et al.Comparing activities: from the homework gap to shared interestsIn the national EU Kids Online results, Doing school work was the most reported activity(90%), even higher than the European trend (85%), suggesting that Portuguese childrenare aware of the dominant discourse that associates internet with learning andeducational purposes, reinforcing its use for school work where internet plays a key roleas a search tool, a discourse also reproduced by families. However, this picture doesn’t fitso well among children and youth from Escolhas sample, where one in four ignore the useof internet for homework purposes. In addition, sending/receiving e-mails or instantmessaging, activities that involve writing skills, are also less common, and another activityrelated with informative contents, reading/watching the news, is at the bottom of the list.Playing games, watching videos on Youtube and visiting SNS sites (mainly Facebook) arethe main reported activities, highlighting a culture directed to entertainment. Among theless important activities we found downloading music or movies probably due to thescarcity of personal resources (Table 3). Table 3: Activities on the internet EU Kids Online Centros Escolhas% Who have… PortugalUsed the internet for school work 90 59Watched videoclips 82 72Used instant messaging 78 66Sent/received email 73 54Visited a social networking profile 63 69Played games 60 74Download music or films 49 13Read/watched the news 38 10 Source: Answers from EU Kids Online Portugal and Escolhas; Ponte, Simões and Jorge, 2011Younger children (9-13) report gaming – including educational/school games such asthose provided by Escola Virtual, a partner of Escolhas - as their main online activity(96%), followed by listening to music (92%), watching videos (89%) and searchinginformation for school homework (79%). Therefore, among this age group, school relatedactivities seem to be still important and they continue to access and use the internet for 10
  • Conference Paper “Transforming Audiences 3”, London 1-2 September 2011 Ponte et al.educational purposes. The change in practices occurs among those who are aged 14 to16,whose educational background is very different from their parents’ path, as they havegenerally more education than their parents, thus having lack of cultural and educationalcapital and the related informational skills, and frequently they face school failure. Thesegaps might be one of the explanations for a smaller use of the internet as a tool to searchinformation for school work (34%). Turning to their interests, main reported activities arethose related to listening to music (64%), video watching (50%) uploading (48%) andgaming (47%). While we were conducting the fieldwork, we could also see how the socialnetworking sites were also taking on in young people’s interests, even among youngerchildren. In fact, they surpass the national result, but that can also be related to the timegap between the EU Kids Online survey (2010) and the Escolhas study (2011).Digital skillsIn the country, among youngsters from 14 to 16, most digital skills were declared by aboutthree quarters of the respondents of EU Kids Online survey. The same question, includedin our survey to youngsters of the same age in Escolhas centres, showed identical values inseveral skills, like blocking unwanted messages, delete records, change privacy settings,finding information on internet safety, but less in skills connected with informational usesand managing received information, such as bookmarks, blocking spam and comparingwebsites to decide if information is true, with less than half declaring the latter. Alsochanging of filter preferences, which is related to managing the information, appearsremarkably less among young people attending Escolhas (Table 4). Table 4: Children’s digital literacy and safety skills (age 14+) Internet skills EU Kids Online Centros Portugal (%) Escolhas (%) Bookmark a website 86 77 Block messages from someone you don’t want to hear from 77 77 Delete the record of which sites you have visited 77 79 Change privacy settings on a SNS 75 72 Find information on how to use the internet safely 77 74 Block unwanted adverts or junk mail/spam 73 55 Compare websites to decide if information is true 67 46 Change filter preferences 60 39 Source: Answers from EU Kids Online Portugal and Escolhas; Ponte, Simões and Jorge, 2011 11
  • Conference Paper “Transforming Audiences 3”, London 1-2 September 2011 Ponte et al.An active group of bloggers?Due to the adaptation of questions, the one on blogging is not exactly the same as far astime and asked actions are concerned. In the EU Kids Online, respondents were askedwhether in the past month they had written a blog or online diary, in the Escolhas theywere asked whether they had ever created a blog or a site (alone or with friends). Thesetextual differences might lead to different understandings, recalls and judgments, certainlyinfluencing the results. Keeping also in mind that the two samples are not equivalent andcomparisons should be read carefully, while in the EU Kids Online national survey only10% of youth with 13-16 years old answered they had written a blog or a online diary inthe last month (this activity being the less reported and following the European average),in the Escolhas sample about one in three 14-16 respondents declared having alreadycreated a blog, this being more declared by male (30 in 86) than by female (9 in 35).Creating a blog in the classroom is part of the ICT national curriculum at Elementary level,therefore being a relatively common practice at schools. As all the Escolhas respondentswere students, it was expectable that a high number answered positively. In fact, 38 out ofthe 122 recall this scholar activity, thus suggesting that for the majority this ICT contentdidn’t constitute a relevant memory.Taking into account their home environments (Table 3), it is worth to look at the internetaccess of these 38 adolescents and see how they differ from the others. In fact, this grouppresent differences on their conditions for accessing the internet, activities and literacy:29 use their own computer to go to the internet (26 having laptops), 27 also refer to thecomputer at school and 23 use relatives’ computers, suggesting a will for being onlineusing multiple access if needed; 25 go to the internet daily and 10 once or twice a week; ona school day only seven declare spending more than two hours online but this valueduplicates on the non school days (ten declare spending more than four hours). Besidestheir blogs, the most reported activities are listening to music, instant messaging, watchingvideos and playing games, following the overall pattern. The gap is that all declare usingthe internet for purposes such as school home work, download music and films,watching/reading the news and send and receive emails, evidencing a more proactiveprofile of users, for instance on searching information for learning purposes.They also seem to be more aware of protecting their privacy, almost all declaring theyblock unwanted messages (36) and delete the records of the visited sites (34).Furthermore, they present comparatively higher values on informational skills: 32 knowhow to bookmark a website and 25 report comparing websites. 12
  • Conference Paper “Transforming Audiences 3”, London 1-2 September 2011 Ponte et al.On the other hand, their parents continue reproducing the main pattern on internet: only18 fathers and 18 mothers were internet users. Although their educational capital is alsolow (only five have post Elementary degrees), they seem to be more aware on providingcultural resources to their children: in fact, almost all (35) declare having shelves withnon-scholar books at home, while only 71% respondents from the Escolhas sample declarethe same.Among the 30 young people that answered the respective open question, the influence ofschool and ICT curriculum is visible, indicating both how in some educational contexts theICT activity allows a more participatory experience in the school life, and how itscompulsory nature and too focused scholar topics risk to lead to a distant experience andeventually its abandon and forgiveness.I have a site with my class where we discuss ideas about school and how we can improvesomething. (Male, 14)How was school 100 years ago. (Male, 14)My blog is about my course (school trips, etc.). (Male, 14)I created [a blog], just for doing it, but I’ve dropped it. (Male, 15).I created on for school (a site) -> was evaluated; and a blog -> [for] a IT course. (Male, 16)Out of the school context and besides shared blogs related to sports and leisure/entertainment, the main picture is provided by using blogs as a platform for self-disclosure and expression of their personal choices, musical taste and games activities.Expressed by 13 adolescents, their less school-framed and more individualized practicesuggests also a more regular writing, approaching the values (13 in 122) to the ones fromthe national survey. Besides the ‘I’ discourse, another difference is the reduction on gendergap.It’s about what I do and it talks about some things about me. (Female, 14);It’s about me, it has all my favorite music. (Female, 14);It’s a site about the games I create. (Male, 14);What I like the most is to make [create the blogs]. (Male, 14)My blog is a page with the friends I know. (Male 14) 13
  • Conference Paper “Transforming Audiences 3”, London 1-2 September 2011 Ponte et al.My blog or page/site talks a bit about myself and has a space for fun and people cancomment on the website and send messages. (Male, 14)Just put on my blog my own texts, to whom I dedicate or even texts that reflect my lifeexperiences and events. (Female, 15)It’s where I share information or videos and any other stuff with friends friends (sic) (Male,15)It depends, I have many but the main (blog) is about the things I like to do. (Male, 15)It’s about myself, I have the books I like to read, the musics, videos and photos. (Male, 16)It talks about myself. (Female, 16)Synthesis and next stepsAt the end of this glance at the family contexts and digital experiences of those attendingthe Digital Inclusion Centres of Escolhas, several methodological remarks and comparativeobservations need to be made:Firstly, the importance of considering family compositions and access to the media in thehouseholds that don’t fit the mainstream model of middle-class, high educated parentsand well equipped households, thus the importance of avoiding wording questions thatmight be insensitive to such contexts.Secondly, the similarities that emerge between this sensitive group of less privilegedchildren and the national trend, expressed in the enthusiasm of the families to adhere tocampaigns such as “one laptop per child”, had two important consequences: on one hand,at a basic level, made those families move from exclusion to ownership; on the other hand,it apparently had no outstanding affect on the amount of use, since this tends to coincidewith the relatively low level of frequent internet access.Thirdly, the high value of informal public spaces with relatively low level of adultmediation among both groups, which we could see during our interviews at the DigitalInclusion centres, as happens in the public libraries, suggests the unexplored potential ofthese places for other kind of uses and opportunities, this being particularly relevant whenconsidering the cultural capital and educational level among the low SES families.Finally, and not forgetting the particularities of each sample, we should note thedifferences between the national representative sample and this group attending Escolhasas far as more informational and learning activities (as it is the case of the school 14
  • Conference Paper “Transforming Audiences 3”, London 1-2 September 2011 Ponte et al.homework) and declared digital skills are concerned. These differences might be relatedto the differences on ownership of other digital equipments, on the household resources(including the lack of digital and educational capital by parents and relatives) and on theschool environments, less present in the Escolhas samples, hence broadening the gap onopportunities for exploring and using the digital media in different activities and for thedigital literacy.Both levels of digital divide pointed by Hargittai (2002), being the first focused onownership and use and the second on user profiles, are visible when we look at theparticular profile of active bloggers in the Escolhas sample: in spite of their contextualdifficulties, compared with their colleagues that attend those centers, they emerge as aminority group of activists exploring the internet potential for creativity and self-expression in a particularly lively way. Their enthusiasm and declared competencies couldbe regarded as incentive to empowering them on the informational and communicationalskills and contributing to place them as positive examples and trusty digital expertsamong the peer groups and as agents within the family and community.ReferencesBourdieu, Pierre. 1979. La distinction: critique sociale du jugement. Paris: Les Éditions deMinuit.Bourdieu, Pierre. 1993. The Field of Cultural Production: Essays on Art and Literature.Londres:Polity Press.Bradshaw, J. (2007). Child benefit packages in 22 countries. Childhood, generational orderand the welfare state: exploring childrens social and economic welfare. H. Wintersberger, T.Olk and J. Qvortrup. Odense, COST: 141-160.Buckingham, D. (2007). Youth, Identity, and Digital Media. John D. and Catherine T.MacArthur Foundation Series on Digital Media and Learning. Cidade, editor.Hargittai, E. (2002). "Second-level digital divide: difference in peoples online skills." FirstMonday 7(4):, Instituto Nacional de Estatística. (2010). Indicadores Sociais 2009. Lisboa: InstitutoNacional de Estatística, I.P. Retrieved from the Internet June 1, 2011., S. (2009). Children and the internet. London, Polity Press. 15
  • Conference Paper “Transforming Audiences 3”, London 1-2 September 2011 Ponte et al.Livingstone, S. and Helsper, E. (2007). “Gradations in digital inclusion: children, youngpeople and the digital divide”. New Media & Society, 9 (4): 671-696.Montgomery, H. (2009). Children, young peple and poverty. Children and Young PeoplesWorlds. H. Montgomery and M. Kellett. Milton Keynes, The Open University: 165-180.Peter, J. and Valkenburg, P. M. (2006). “Adolescents’ internet use: Testing the‘disappearing digital divide’ versus the ‘emerging digital differentiation’ approach”.Poetics, 34: 293-305.Ponte, C., J. A. Simões, et al. (2011). Digital inclusion in the face of social semi-exclusion:adapting the EU Kids Online questionnaire. IAMCR 2011. Istambul, 13-17 July.Qvortrup, J. (1994). Childhood matters: an introduction. Childhood Matters: Social Theory,Practice and Politics. J. Qvortrup, M. Bardy, G. Sgritta and H. Wintersberger. Vienna,European Centre: 1-24.Ridge, T. (2007). Negotiating childhood poverty: childrens subjective experiences of lifeon a low income. Chidhood. Generational Order and the Welfare State: Exploring ChildrensSocial and Economic Welfare. H. Wintersberger, L. Alanen, T. Olk and J. Qvortrup. Odense,University Press of Southern Denmark: 161-180.Seiter, E. (2005). The Internet Playground. Chilkdrens access, entertainment, and miss-education. New York, Peter Lang.UNICEF (2010). Humanitarian Action Report: partnering for children in emergencies. NewYork: UNICEF. Retrieved from the Internet June 1, 2011. (2007). Annual Report: covering 1 January 2007 through 31 December 2007. NewYork: UNICEF. Retrieved from the Internet June 1, 2011. 16