Collateral benefits of Internet use: Explaining the diverse outcomes of engaging with the Internet

Alexander J.A.M. Van Deursen* (Corresponding Author), Ellen J. Helsper

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

117 Citations (Scopus)
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This article examines the extent to which economic, cultural, social, and personal types of engagement with the Internet result in a variety of economic, cultural, social, and personal outcomes. Data from a representative survey of the Dutch population are analyzed to test whether engagement with a certain type of activity is related to “collateral” benefits in different domains of activities, independent from the socioeconomic or sociocultural characteristics of the person. The results show that what people do online and the skills they have affect outcomes in other domains and that this is independent of the characteristics of the person. This means that policy and interventions could potentially overcome digital inequalities in outcomes through skills training and providing opportunities to engage online in a broad variety of ways. A semiologic rather than an economistic approach is more likely to be effective in thinking about and tackling digital inequalities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2333-2351
JournalNew media & society
Issue number7
Early online date30 Jun 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2018


  • UT-Hybrid-D
  • digital inequality
  • Internet outcomes
  • Internet skills
  • social inequality
  • Digital divide


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