Private dwellings are classified as having no internet connection if no individual in the house has access to the internet though any device (including a mobile or smart phone)1. Low income households and those located in non-metropolitan or regional areas are less likely to have access to the internet1.
In contemporary society having access to the internet means greater access to social connections as well as material and social resources. This includes access to health services and health information as well as other resources and social connections that contribute to health and wellbeing (such as education institutions and support networks)1,2. As such, not having an internet connection in the home is considered an indicator of disadvantage because it signals a lack of resources or ability to participate fully in society1,2.
Disadvantage is a significant risk factor for poorer health outcomes for children both in early development and throughout the lifespan3,4. Further, as the internet functions as a primary source of information and social connection, parents who do not have internet connection may not.
In light of the relationship between child development and disadvantage, understanding which areas have a greater proportion of households experiencing disadvantage, through indicators such as internet connection, can guide policy and strategy to ensure areas that may require additional support to foster child development receive it.
- Australian Bureau of statistics [Internet]. Canberra ACT. Household use of Information Technology, 2016-17, cat. no. 8146.0 [Internet]. ABS. 2018 [cited 22 May 2018]. Available from: http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/8146.0
- Australian Bureau of Statistics. Census of Population and Housing: Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA), Australia, 2011, cat. no. 2033.0.55.001 [Internet]. ABS. 2013 [cited 29 May 2018]. Available from: http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/2033.0.55.001main+features100052011
- Tough P. Helping children succeed: What works and why [Internet]. Random House; 2016 May 26. [cited 22 May 2018]. Available from: http://www.paultough.com/helping/pdf/Helping-Children-Succeed-Paul-Tough.pdf?pdf=hcs-pdf-web
- Zubrick S, Williams A, Silburn S, Vimpani G. Indicators of Social and Family Functioning [Internet]. Commonwealth of Australia; Department of Family and Community Services. 2000 May [cited 2018 Jun 11]. Available from: https://www.dss.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/indicators_of_social_and_family_functioning_full_report.pdf