Ethnic-based digital divide and internet use amongst Malaysian students


Soh, Patrick C-H and Chew, Kok Wai and Arumugan, Veeri Chettiar and Ang, Peng Hwa (2011) Ethnic-based digital divide and internet use amongst Malaysian students. Akademika Jurnal Sains Kemasyarakatan Dan Kemanusiaan, 81 (1). pp. 93-100. ISSN 0126-5008

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Research had documented the existence of a digital divide not only on the basis of income, but also ethnicity. The issue of ethnicity has always been of paramount importance in Malaysia ever since its birth as a nation. With more than 90 percent of urban youths in Malaysia accessing the Internet, one would not expect to find any ethnic-based differences in digital divide amongst these youths. This study verifies whether any ethnic-based differences in digital divide exist amongst urban school-going youths in Malaysia with and without controlling income levels. A random survey among 959 students from two of the most developed states in Malaysia, Penang, and Federal Territory (Kuala Lumpur) was undertaken. Statistical analysis indicates significant ethnic-based differences exist with regard home personal computer ownership and Internet connection, even with household income accounted for. However, these differences were bridged through alternative places for Internet access like cyber cafés, schools and homes of friends and relatives. This study finds that there are no significant differences in the Internet penetration rate amongst the main three ethnic groups. Nevertheless, there are concerns that a new digital divide could be opening, one that is based on the quantity and quality of access. The data reveals that Chinese youths are online for twice the duration of Malays and Indians. Higher Internet usage may not necessarily be positive as they are intertwined with higher risks and negative activities such as violent games, pornography, and gambling. The article also discusses various means to mitigate the risks of Internet usage.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: A General Works > AS Academies and learned societies (General)
Depositing User: Ms Rosnani Abd Wahab
Date Deposited: 04 Feb 2013 03:44
Last Modified: 14 Feb 2014 03:31


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