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PISA in Focus

PISA in Focus is a series of monthly education policy-oriented notes designed to describe a PISA topic in a concise, user-friendly way.

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Are there differences in how advantaged and disadvantaged students use the Internet?

Even when all students, including the most disadvantaged, have easy access to the Internet,a digital divide, based on socio-economic status, still persists in how students use technology. In the five Nordic countries, as well as in Hong Kong-China, the Netherlands and Switzerland, over 98% of disadvantaged students have access to the Internet at home. By contrast, in some low- and middle-income countries, many disadvantaged students have access to the Internet only at school, if at all. In 2012, disadvantaged students spent at least as much time on line as advantaged students, on average across OECD countries. In 21 out of 42 countries and economies, disadvantaged students spent more time on line than advantaged students. In all countries/economies, what students do with computers, from using e-mail to reading news on the Internet, is related to students’ socio-economic status. Advantaged students are more likely than disadvantaged students to search for information or read news on line. Disadvantaged students, on the other hand, tend to use the Internet to chat or play videogames at least as often as advantaged students do.

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