Bridging the Digital Divide: Participation Inequality in Eastern Croatia

Jadranka Zlomislić, Mato Matijević, Katarina Šijaković


The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the digital transformation that has brought great changes and new opportunities in all aspects of the everyday life of people worldwide. The overall objective of this research was to gain a better understanding of the digital inequality among ICT and Internet users in Eastern Croatia by identifying categorical inequalities (Van Dijk 2005, 2017) in the form of key obstacles that affect their successful use in everyday life, among them being age, insufficient digital literacy and knowledge of the English language. The research was conducted using a questionnaire (Google Forms) covering different age groups and their user characteristics and experiences in acquiring digital knowledge and skills such as understanding multimodal icons that combine verbal and visual material, use of translation tools, use of the English language on the Internet and use of online content. Building upon previous research on the digital divide, this research contributes to broadening perspectives on the importance of caring for older users of digital technologies and understanding the barriers that lead to participation inequality in an increasingly digitized society. The results of the survey show that obstacles related to the lack of knowledge of ICT, difficulty finding their way around search engines, and insufficient knowledge of the English language are the obstacles of respondents over the age of 36.


digital divide; information and communication technologies (ICT); Internet; digital inequality; digital literacy; knowledge of the English language

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