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The Relationship between Online Engagement and Users’ Perceived Benefits: Exploring the Differences among Rural and Urban Internet Users

While the provision of infrastructure has largely been successful in South Korea, the divergent uses after getting access to the networks have resulted in a new type of digital exclusion. Among the many factors that lead to a longer term divide among those who benefit from the technologies and those who do not, this study examined the frequency and type of activities users engage with online and the relationship with their perceived benefits. The differences among rural and urban internet users were further examined.

A secondary data analysis of a subset (N=3,641) of a national survey conducted by the National Information Society Agency (NIA) in 2013 reveals that the frequency of online engagement and the ways in which people use online services are related to how people perceive of the internet to be beneficial in their everyday lives. Urban internet users perceived of the benefits to be higher compared to rural users. Acquiring constant access and engaging frequently with various online activities are significant factors that shape internet users’ perception of the benefits that the internet entails.