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    STUDIA SOCIOLOGIA - Issue no. 1 / 2012  

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Drawing on the literature of digital inclusion, this article aims to show how differences in digital engagement among children from Romania and Bulgaria persist even if they incorporate the use of the Internet in their everyday lives. In order to identify variations in digital skills, self-efficacy and, therefore, in digital engagement of Romanian and Bulgarian 9-16 years old, a path analysis was conducted using AMOS. Demographic variables like age, gender, parental educational level (as a proxy for socioeconomic status) and parents’ age were introduced in the model. Additionally, since factors like autonomy of use and the receipt of social support are likely to influence children’s digital outcomes, the relations between these variables and those of skills, self-efficacy and digital engagement are also examined. Findings reveal that older children from higher educational backgrounds exhibit more digital skills and self-efficacy and a stronger digital engagement. Moreover, a more autonomous use and a higher amount of social support help children to be involved in more online activities. This analysis also reports differences of intergenerational digital transfer, with younger parents more supportive for their children’s Internet usage, which is expected since in Romania and Bulgaria there are still significant intergenerational digital gaps.

Key words: Internet, digital divide, digital inclusion, skills, intergenerational digital transfer, children and adolescents

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