Andraž Petrovčič, PhD, visited UNC at Charlotte
Andraž Petrovčič, Ph. D., Research fellow at the Centre of Social Informatics, visited the Department of Communication Studies, University of North Carolina at Charlotte (UNCC). The visit was part of billateral project »A multidimensional perspective of gradations in digital inclusion through examining access, motivation, skills, uses and outcomes of online engagement« which has been ongoing since 2019 under the lead of Dr. Petrovčič and Dr. Bianca C. Reisdorf (UNCC). The project is funded by the Slovenian Research Agency.
During his visit dr. Petrovčič delivered a guest lecture to an audience including nearly 30 undergraduates on Monday, February 3, 2020. His talk, “Personal and contextual factors of proxy internet use in a time perspective” proved to be equally informative and entertaining. Afterwards, Dr. Petrovčič, an Assistant Professor of Social Informatics at Faculty of Social Sciences of the University of Ljubljana, chatted with students about undergraduate research opportunities internet-based technologies offer for student projects in the field of social informatics and communication sciences.
The abstract of Dr. Petrovčič’s talk is enclosed below.
Title/Naslov: Personal and contextual factors of proxy internet use in a time perspective
Abstract/Izvleček: While the scaling of internet services has reached unforeseeable dimensions with the development of the internet of things, there are still large groups of population on the global level that have limited opportunity to engage with the digital world. For instance, the elderly, women, the lower educated and unemployed have been shown to be less equipped to go online and are also less likely to achieve tangible internet outcomes that increase their offline resources. In this talk, I will first introduce the notion of digital inequalities as a conceptual framework that can be applied to understand how personal characteristics of individuals and social contexts (co)shape digital inclusion. Then, the concept of proxy internet use (PIU) will be presented as a potential strategy to compensate for digital exclusion among internet users and nonusers. PIU is a form of indirect engagement with the internet where users or nonusers access online services or resources with the help of family or friends as proxies. Various socio-technical aspects and mechanisms of PIU will be discussed to understand its implications for digital inequalities. The talk will conclude by presenting some of the latest results of a longitudinal survey study in Slovenia that point out the changing role of inter-generational ties in activation of PIU among nonusers in a decade of internet scaling.