Internet use in Brazil: speeding up or lagging behind?
The evolution of internet access and use in Brazil in the direction of social inclusiveness and to guarantee uses that promote individual and community development is the focus of the present paper. Previous evidence on the subject initially presented indicates the prevalence of contrasting aspects: some outstanding positive initiatives and results towards democratization of the internet, as well as the maintenance of great digital inequalities. New evidence on the evolution of internet access and use is also discussed herein, based on analyses of longitudinal data obtained from the Brazilian Census Bureau’s Annual Survey (IBGE/PNAD, 2005, 2008). After describing aspects of increase in access to the internet, we focus on the evolution of different types of everyday life internet uses, particularly those that might contribute to individual and community development. How accesses and uses are gradually incorporating the less privileged sectors of the Brazilian adult population is also considered in the analyses. The results obtained reinforce the previous contrasting evidences: outstanding growth in access and in diversified uses are observed - suggesting intensive appropriation of internet technology and resources by the population - as well as the persistence of great inequalities. These circumstances indicate that the digital divide in Brazil is still a great challenge to be faced through comprehensive and long-term policies and initiatives.
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