The Effect of Gender, Ethnicity, and Income on College Students' Use of Communication Technologies
Because campus officials are relying on personal communication technologies to communicate with students, a question arises about access and usage. Although communication technologies are popular among college students, some evidence suggests that differences exist in ownership and use. We examined patterns of student ownership and use of cell phones and use of instant messaging, focusing on three predictors of digital inequality: gender, ethnicity, and income. Logistic and hierarchical linear regression analyses were used to analyze results from 4,491 students. The odds that female and white students owned cell phones were more than twice as high as for men and African-American students. Students in the $100,000-$149,000 per year income bracket were more than three times as likely to own a cell phone than those from the median bracket. However, being female, African-American, and/or from the highest income brackets was positively predictive of the number of text messages sent and the amount of time spent talking on a cell phone per week. We found no differences between students on the use of instant messaging. Implications of these results, as well as areas for further research, are provided.