The impact of computer use at home on students' internet skills

1 september 2007
Auteur: Kuhlemeier, H., & Hemker, B.

This article reports on a study into the impact of students’ use of the Internet and the computer at home on digital skills they need for school. The study was conducted in the lower grades of Dutch secondary education (students aged 13–15). More than 2500 students, distributed over 116 classes in 68 schools, participated in the study. Internet and computer skills were measured by means of an objective test. Multilevel analysis was used to examine the impact of home access and use on Internet and computer skills taking into account the effect of students’ backgrounds. Students in pre-university education, third-graders and non-minority students appeared to have better Internet skills and a more advantageous home computer use than students in pre-vocational education, first-graders and minority students, respectively. The Internet skills of girls were hardly less developed than those of boys. Home access to e-mail and the extent to which students use the home computer for surfing, e-mailing, chatting and text processing were found to be substantially related to Internet and computer skills (taking into account the effect of several background characteristics of the students).

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