Modeling traditional literacy, internet skills and internet usage: an empirical study

A.J.A.M. van Deursen*, J.A.G.M. van Dijk

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

55 Citations (Scopus)
89 Downloads (Pure)


This paper focuses on the relationships among traditional literacy (reading, writing and understanding text), medium-related Internet skills (consisting of operational and formal skills), content-related Internet skills (consisting of information and strategic skills) and Internet usage types (information- and career-directed Internet use and entertainment use). We conducted a large-scale survey that resulted in a dataset of 1008 respondents. The results reveal the following: (i) traditional literacy has a direct effect on formal and information Internet skills and an indirect effect on strategic Internet skills and (ii) differences in types of Internet usage are indirectly determined by traditional literacy and directly affected by Internet skills, such that higher levels of strategic Internet skills result in more information- and career-directed Internet use. Traditional literacy is a pre-condition for the employment of Internet skills, and Internet skills should not be considered an easy means of disrupting historically grounded inequalities caused by differences in traditional literacy
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-26
JournalInteracting with computers
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jul 2016


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