Dr. Eun-A Park

"Smartphone Divide and Information Gaps: a New Horizon of Digital Divide"
Wednesday, April 17th at 1:00 p.m.in the Marvin K. Peterson Library, upper level

 
Synopsis
 

In the last five years, smartphones have achieved wide usage even among low-income communities and communities of color. The Pew Internet Project reports that nearly half (46%) of American adults are smartphone owners as of February 2012, and only two in five adults own a cell phone that is not a smartphone. This sudden emergence and increasing popularity of smartphones have generated much interest on their implications for the digital divide.

With the more advanced features available on smartphones, non-smartphone users can be further marginalized in terms of their ability to access information and applications. The mobile gap can lead to a “dual digital divide," referring to both an intergroup divide between smartphone users and nonusers, and an intragroup divide among smartphone users caused by differences in skill levels permitting some to enjoy more sophisticated and advanced usage.

The more skilled a user is in operating the smartphone, the greater is the possibility that he or she would be able to fully exploit the technical capabilities of the device. Accordingly, in a converged and smart media environment, it no longer makes sense to talk only of a digital divide based on access to a platform – instead, a new “smart phone divide” is created based on a user’s ability to access and use an array of different services.

Although there is an extensive literature on the digital divide in broadband access and use, few research efforts have addressed the digital divide in mobile phone. Therefore, this research study aims to fill the gap in the literature by looking into new dimensions of the smartphone divide and exploring the differential usage of smartphone users in terms of usage motives, usability levels, and usage scope, controlling for demographics and socioeconomic status.

 
Biographical Information
 

Dr. Eun-A Park (a.k.a., Mickey) is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication, Film and Theater at the University of New Haven, USA. Her research papers have been presented at various conferences and published in journals such as Telecommunications Policy, Info, Government Information Quarterly, Computers in Human Behavior, and Journal of Information Technology Education.

Previous to her academic career, she was a researcher for a governmental institute, the Korea Information Society Development Institute (KISDI) in South Korea and published numerous analytical reports for Korea’s government and industry. Her research interests center on new media, media convergence, broadband competition policy and universal service. She completed her Ph.D. in mass communications from the Pennsylvania State University.

 
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