Digital Exclusions and their Indexing in Information Society
Implications for E-Learning Process and Social Consequences
Wong Yu-Cheung (Department of Social Work & Social Administration, The University of Hong Kong) [BIO]
Law Chi-Kwong (Department of Social Work & Social Administration, The University of Hong Kong)
Lam Chi-yee Jolie (Department of Social Work & Social Administration, The University of Hong Kong)
Fung Yat-Chu John (ITRC, Hong Kong Council of Social Services, Hong Kong)
Governments in East Asia are among the most active actors in the developed world in pushing its society ahead in developing knowledge economy and information society. The major concern is to improve/maintain their competitiveness in the new knowledge economy created by the process of globalization and the advancement in information technology. Many countries in the region have established themselves in the top ranks of a number of indexes and measurements comparing digital readiness, digital access, ICT penetration, etc. However, not all the citizens in the regions share the benefits and promises of the information society. People of the traditionally disadvantaged groups in the society, such as the elderly, low income groups are in the process of further excluded from the information society. Such exclusion affects other social groups as well.
We present a study which measures the degree of digital exclusion – or conversely, the degree of digital inclusion in a developed city in East Asia. Using Analytical constructs and empirical data, this paper introduces a digital inclusion index measuring digital divide between disadvantaged groups and the mainstream society in Hong Kong. The index captures information about access, knowledge, usage and affordability in information communication technology and the findings depict the degree of digital inclusion/exclusions across various disadvantaged groups. This study creates a new digital inclusion index to measures the degree of inclusion of various disadvantaged groups in the information society. Data regarding seven disadvantage groups, such as elderly, persons with disabilities, housewives, children in low income households, etc. were collected through household survey (N= 2312). The index captures information about access, knowledge, usage and affordability in information communication technology of the disadvantaged in comparison with the mainstream society (N= 756).