- Communication research methodology
- Digital media
To provide scientific support for the e-Belgium for Belgium project and to (re)direct political actions during its implementation, it is necessary to be able to rely on figures from annual quantitative monitoring of social digital inequalities1 in Belgium and its various regions - Flanders, Brussels, Wallonia. In addition to the essential evaluation of the impact of the initiatives funded under successive calls for projects, a quantified objectification of the evolution of these "new" forms of inequality, especially among vulnerable groups - such as at-risk-of-poverty groups - (Helsper, Reisdorf, 2017; Ragnedda, 2020), is all the more necessary because this phenomenon is complex and dynamic (see e.g. Van Dijk, 2005; Vodoz, 2010). The dynamic nature of inequality has increased significantly in recent years due to a continuous transformation of digital innovations and a multiplication of opportunities to access digital technologies and their applications. For example, the new edition of the Digital Inclusion Barometer (Faure, Brotcorne and Mariën, 2022), to be published in September, points to a weakening of citizens' digital skills compared to 2019 as a result of changing demands in terms of mastering digital technologies. In this constantly changing context, the difficulties and needs of the public targeted by the project in terms of access to the Internet, motivation to use it, skills and/or usage capabilities, are all moving targets (moving target) (DiMaggio et al., 2004) that need to be reassessed regularly.
Therefore, the overall objective of the annual monitoring is to quantify the evolution of the three main forms of socio-digital inequalities, which generally emerge in
academic research (Ragnedda, 2017; Robinson et al., 2020; Van Deursen and Helsper, 2015; Van Dijk, 2020), namely:
- Inequality in access to and quality of digital technologies
- Inequalities in digital skills 2 and internet use in general in general
- Inequality in the benefits of internet use in accessing services considered essential for people's full inclusion in society society (e.g. e-government, e-health, e-banking, e-commerce).