Exploring the Digital Literacy Divide Among American Teens: Influences of Parent Education, Gender and Race



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



The purpose of this study was to explore if there were correlations between parental education, gender and race with U.S. teenagers’ high-risk behaviors, positive behaviors and self-efficacy when it comes to digital literacy. The analysis found a statistically significant effect of gender, race, and parental education on high-risk behaviors, positive behaviors and self-efficacy. Notably, it was found that high-risk behaviors among Black/African American students whose parents have low and high education varied the most. Self-efficacy was higher among all race categories when parental education was high. Positive behaviors increased the most between Native American students with low verse high parental education. The data also suggests that females have lower high-risk behaviors, greater self-efficacy and more positive behaviors as compared to males. This study contributes to a more recent body of literature around teenage digital literacy behaviors and digital self-efficacy, particularly with its implication for policy and education efforts. It also expands the application of knowledge gap theory.



Digital divide, Race, Gender, Parent education, Digital literacy, Second level digital divide, Self-efficacy, Positive behaviors, High risk behaviors, Knowledge gap theory