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New article on proxy internet use published in The Information Society

Despite digital services becoming almost ubiquitous in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, the recent EUROSTAT figures suggest that internet nonuse persists among the most excluded groups of people, particularly among aging and low-educated populations. As a large part of nonusers group are offline not because of their digital choice but due to digital exclusion, some of them find alternative ways to get access to online information and services. One of such strategies is proxy internet use, a practice where nonusers ask internet users to do things online for them. Understanding how the decrease of nonusers and the changes in their demographic and personal characteristics have changed the activation of proxy internet use in the last decade can inform our knowledge about how to remove potential barriers on the way to more inclusive digital world.

Hence, the new original study of a group of researchers at the Centre for Social Informatics (dr. Darja Grošeljdr. Andraž Petrovčičdr. Vesna Dolničar) in collaboration with dr. Bianca C. Reisdorf (University of North Carolina at Charlotte, USA), published in The Information Society, examined the changing factors that shape proxy internet use activation over time. Specifically, it focused on the changing role of socio-demographics and family support in internet nonusers’ indirect access to online services by comparing factors engendering active engagement in proxy internet use in 2009 and 2018. The results from multivariate analyses of cross-sectional survey data from two nationwide representative samples collected nine years apart in Slovenia showed that both sets of factors have lost their explanatory power over time. However, proxy internet use has remained an important vessel for many non-users, therefore, more studies are needed in the future to better understand its role in the post-pandemic digital world.

This work was supported by the Slovenian Research Agency (grant nos. Z5- 8234, J5-2558, P5-0399, BI-US/18-20-051).

Back to list of notificationsPublished: 10. June 2022 | Category: Publications