Full access to the internet or other technology (digital inclusion) can be seen as a process of four phases: Attitude and Motivation, Material access, Skills, and Usage, as shown in light blue in the figure below (based on resources and appropriation theory by Jan van Dijk) .
Each phase of internet access plays an important role in achieving positive outcomes (and in protecting against negative outcomes of the internet) and has a sequential and conditional nature. These outcomes come in many forms in four domains:
Unfortunately, promoting motivation and deploying sufficient equipment will not automatically result in a high level of skill, in a diverse use of the internet, or in many beneficial outcomes. Each phase of access depends on a series of (different) indicators that interact with each other in the emergence of digital inequality. Think of gender, age, education and income, and a whole range of cultural, social and psychological factors.
A different policy approach applies to each phase of access. In our centre, studies are carried out get a better grip on this. This is important, because we know that the part of the population that could potentially benefit the most from internet use is in the worst position and that the internet reinforces existing forms of inequality.