With the increased digitisation of society comes an increased concern about who is left behind. From societal causes to the impact of everyday actions, The Digital Disconnect explores the relationship between digital and social inequalities, and the lived consequences of digitisation. Ellen J. Helsper goes beyond questions of digital divides and who is connected. She asks why and how social and digital inequalities are linked and shows the tangible outcomes of socio-digital inequalities in everyday lives. The book:  • Introduces the key theories and concepts needed to understand both ‘traditional’ and digital inequalities research.  • Investigates a range of socio-digital inequalities, from digital access and skills, to civic participation, social engagement, and everyday content creation and consumption.  • Brings research to life with a range of qualitative vignettes, drawing out the personal experiences that lay at the heart of global socio-digital inequalities. The Digital Disconnect is an expert exploration of contemporary theory, research and practice in socio-digital inequalities. It is also an urgent and impassioned call to broaden horizons, expand theoretical and methodological toolkits, and work collectively to help achieve a fairer digital future for all. Ellen J. Helsper is Professor of Digital Inequalities at the Department of Media and Communications at London School of Economics and Political Science.

Inequalities in Loneliness and Connection in Digital Societies

Inequalities in Loneliness and Connection in Digital Societies

‘Thanks to social media, the pandemics of the future could be psychological.’

(Thomas, 2018)

Introduction

So far, this book has discussed the inequalities that have received most attention and concern from socio-digital inequalities researchers, policy makers and practitioners. These systematic inequalities in ICT access and infrastructure, skills, and use are worrying, because they exacerbate socio-economic inequalities and historic trends of disengagement and disempowerment. In this chapter, I consider inequalities in a basic human need: loving interpersonal relationships. Without these, we have shorter, less happy, and unhealthier lives. I focus on informal interactions and social and well-being aspects of ICT use. These are the kinds of relationships that scholars of network sociology, such ...

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