WH&Y authors: Professor Leon Straker

Citation: Harris C, Straker L, Pollock C (2017) A socioeconomic related 'digital divide' exists in how, not if, young people use computers. PLoS ONE 12 (3): e0175011.



Government initiatives have tried to ensure uniform computer access for young people; however a divide related to socioeconomic status (SES) may still exist in the nature of information technology (IT) use. This study aimed to investigate this relationship in 1,351 Western Australian children between 6 and 17 years of age. All participants had computer access at school and 98.9% at home. Neighbourhood SES was related to computer use, IT activities, playing musical instruments, and participating in vigorous physical activity. Participants from higher SES neighbourhoods were more exposed to school computers, reading, playing musical instruments, and vigorous physical activity. Participants from lower SES neighbourhoods were more exposed to TV, electronic games, mobile phones, and non-academic computer activities at home. These patterns may impact future economic, academic, and health outcomes. Better insight into neighbourhood SES influences will assist in understanding and managing the impact of computer use on young people’s health and development.

About The Authors


Leon Straker is a John Curtin Distinguished Professor of Physiotherapy, focussed on adolescent behav...