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From digital skills to tangible outcomes - Improving measures and models of digital engagement


Below is a selection of reports, journal articles, book chapters that have been produced from the DiSTO project. 


Journal Articles and Book Chapters



Al-Sumait, F., Helsper, E. J., & Rahali, M. (2023). Adapting global methodologies to digital inequalities research in a multicultural Arab environment. Convergence, 29(4).

Al-Sumait, F. & Navarro, C. (2023). Kuwait's Enduring Digital Divide. Socio-Demographic Characteristics Relative to ICT Access, Skills, and Outcomes. LSE Middle East Centre Paper Series.


Helsper, E.J. (2021) Chapter 6. Network and Neighborhood Effects in Digital Skills. In E. Hargittai (ed) Handbook of Digital Inequality. Edward Elgar Publishing.

Büchi, M. (2021). Digital well-being theory and research. New Media & Society,

Helsper, E.J. (2021) The Digital Disconnect: The Social Causes and Consequences of Digital Inequalities. SAGE: London, UK.

Brazilian Network Information Center ( (Ed.). (2021). COVID-19 ICT Panel: Web survey on the use of Internet in Brazil during the new coronavirus pandemic. Brazilian Internet Steering Committee: São Paulo.

van Deursen, A. J., van der Zeeuw, A., de Boer, P., Jansen, G., & van Rompay, T. (2021).Digital inequalities in the Internet of Things: differences in attitudes, material access, skills, and usage. Information, Communication & Society, 24(2), 258-276,

van Deursen, A. J., van der Zeeuw, A., de Boer, P., Jansen, G., & van Rompay, T. (2021). Development and validation of the Internet of Things Skills Scale (IoTSS). Information, Communication & Society, 1-17, DOI:


Cabello, P., Claro, M., Rojas, R., & Trucco, D. (2020). Children’s and adolescents’ digital access in Chile: the role of digital access modalities in digital uses and skills. Journal of Children and Media, 1-19.  doi:10.1080/17482798.2020.1744176.

Dodel, M., Kaiser, D., Mesch, G. (2020) Determinants of cyber-safety behaviors in a developing economy. The role of socioeconomic inequalities, digital skills and perception of cyber-threats. First Monday, 25(7),

Grošelj, D., van Deursen, A. J. M., Dolničar, V., Burnik, T., & Petrovčič, A. (2020). Measuring internet skills in a general population: A large-scale validation of the short Internet Skills Scale in Slovenia. The Information Society, 1-51. DOI:

Scheerder, A. J., van Deursen, A. J. A. M., & van Dijk, J. A. G. M. (2020). Taking advantage of the Internet: A qualitative analysis to explain why educational background is decisive in gaining positive outcomes. Poetics, 80, DOI: 

van Deursen, A. (2020). Digital Inequality During a Pandemic: Quantitative Study of Differences in COVID-19-Related Internet Uses and Outcomes Among the General Population. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 22(8). DOI: 

van Laar, E., van Deursen, A., van Dijk, J., & de Haan, J. (2020a). Determinants of 21st-Century Skills and 21st-Century Digital Skills for Workers: A Systematic Literature Review. Sage Open, 10(1). doi:10.1177/2158244019900176

van Laar, E., van Deursen, A., van Dijk, J., & de Haan, J. (2020b). Measuring the levels of 21st-century digital skills among professionals working within the creative industries: A performance-based approachPoetics, 81. doi:10.1016/j.poetic.2020.101434


de Boer, P. S., van Deursen, A. J. A. M., & van Rompay, T. J. L. (2019). Accepting the Internet-of-Things in our homes: The role of user skillsTelematics and Informatics, 36, 147-156. doi:10.1016/j.tele.2018.12.004

Helsper, E.J. (2019). Why Location-based studies offer new opportunities for a better understanding of socio-digital inequalities. In: (Ed.). (2019). Desigualdades sociais no espaço urbano: um estudo sobre o acesso e o uso de Internet na cidade de São Paulo. São Paulo: Comitê Gestor da Internet no Brasil. Available in English and Portuguese.

Brazilian Network Information Center ( (Ed.).(2019). Desigualdades sociais no espaço urbano: um estudo sobre o acesso e o uso de Internet na cidade de São Paulo. São Paulo: Comitê Gestor da Internet no Brasil. 

Helsper, E.J. & Smirnova, S. (2019) Chapter 9 Youth Inequalities in Digital Interaction and Well-being. In F. Gottschalk (Ed)  Emotional well-being and new technologies for children in the 21st century. Paris: OECD

Helsper, E.J. (2019) Digital Inequalities Amongst Digital Natives. In L. Haddon & L.Green. (eds) Routledge Companion to Digital Media and Children. Routledge: London

Scheerder, A. J., van Deursen, A., & van Dijk, J. (2019). Negative outcomes of Internet use: A qualitative analysis in the homes of families with different educational backgrounds. Information Society, 35(5), 286-298. doi:10.1080/01972243.2019.1649774

van Laar, E., van Deursen, A., van Dijk, J., & de Haan, J. (2019). Determinants of 21st-century digital skills: A large-scale survey among working professionals. Computers in Human Behavior, 100, 93-104. doi:10.1016/j.chb.2019.06.017

van der Zeeuw, A., van Deursen, A., & Jansen, G. (2019). Inequalities in the social use of the Internet of things: A capital and skills perspectiveNew Media & Society, 21(6), 1344-1361. doi:10.1177/1461444818821067


Van Deursen, A.J.A.M.  & Helsper, E.J. (2018). Collateral benefits of Internet use: Explaining the diverse outcomes of engaging with the Internet. New Media & Society, 20(7), 2333–2351. doi: 10.1177/1461444817715282


Helsper, E.J. (2017) A socio-digital ecology approach to understanding digital inequalities among young people. Commentary: Journal of Children and Media, 11(2), 256-260. doi: 10.1080/17482798.2017.1306370

Van Deursen, A.J.A.M., Helsper, E.J., Eynon, R. & Van Dijk, J.A.G.M.  (2017) The compoundness and sequentiality of digital inequalityInternational Journal of Communication 11,  425-473.


Helsper, E.J. and Van Deursen, A.J.A.M. (2016) Do the rich get digitally richer? Quantity and Quality of support networks for digital engagement.  Information, Communication & Society, doi: 10.1080/1369118X.2016.1203454

Helsper, E.J. (2016) Inequalities in Digital Literacy: Definitions, Measurement, Explanations and Policy Implications. TIC Household Survey Book. São Pauo (BR).


van Deursen, A.J.A.M. and Helsper, E.J. (2015), The Third-Level Digital Divide: Who Benefits Most from Being Online?, in Laura Robinson , Shelia R. Cotten , Jeremy Schulz , Timothy M. Hale , Apryl Williams(ed.) Communication and Information Technologies Annual (Studies in Media and Communications), 10, 29 – 52. doi: 10.1108/S2050-206020150000010002

Van Deursen, A.J.A.M., Helsper, E.J. and Eynon, R. (2015)  Development and validation of the internet skills scale (ISS)Information, Communication and Society. doi: 10.1080/1369118X.2015.1078834 



Adhikari, S., Banerjee, A., Helsper, E.J., Singh. K, & Selvan, Arul, K.S. (November, 2023) Digital Inclusion and Empowerment in India report. DiSTO project report.

De Marco, S.; Sorando, D.; Helsper, E.; Dumont, G. & Robles, J. M. (2023) Desigualdad digital y educación a distancia. ¿Cómo ha afectado la pandemia a los resultados académicos de las personas adolescentes madrileñas? (In Spanish)


Al-Sumait, F., Helsper, E.J., Navarro, C. Al-Saif, N., & Raut, N. (2022). Kuwait’s Digital Inequalities Report. From Digital Skills to Tangible Outcomes project report. Available at: 


Van Deursen, A.J.A.M. & Helsper, E.J. (2021). Mediawijsheid: Conceptualisering en belang in een gemedieerde samenleving. Lacunes in bestaand onderzoek en beleid. [Media Wisdom: Conceptualisation and importance in a mediated society. Gaps in existing research and policy]. Enschede, Nederland: Universiteit Twente. Available at:

Galperin, H., Bar, A.M., Le, T.V., Daum, K. (2021). How far is California from high-speed broadband Internet for all? Connected Cities and Inclusive Growth (CCIG) Policy Brief #7.

Helsper, E.J., Schneider, L., van Deursen, A.J.A.M., van Laar, E. (2021) The youth Digital Skills IndicatorReport on the conceptualisation and development of the ySKILLS digital skills measure. KU Leuven, Leuven: ySKILLS. 


Galperin, H., Bar, F., Kim, A.M., Le, T.V., Daum, K.  (2020). Mapping the distance learning gap in CA. Connected Cities and Inclusive Growth (CCIG) Policy Brief #6.

Galperin H., Wyatt, K., Let, T.V. (2020). Covid-19 and the distance learning gap. Connected Cities and Inclusive Growth (CCIG), Policy Brief #5.

Helsper, E.J. (2020) Overcoming victim blaming and bystander effects through social theatre: Masterclass Cyberscene project evaluation. London (UK): LSE & TheatreRoyal Haymarket’s Masterclass Trust.

Lupinacci, L., Helsper, E.J., Rahali, M., Büchi, M., DeMarco, S., Galperin, H. and Van Deursen, A.J.A.M. (2020) Approaching socio-digital inequalities from a global perspective: Challenges, possibilities and (in)compatibilities of a cross-country research project. Research Dialogues Series Media@LSE, London (UK). 


Galperin, H., Bar, F., Kim, A.M., Le, T.V., Daum, K. (2019). Who Gets Access to Fast Broadband? Evidence from Los Angeles County 2014-17. Connected Cities and Inclusive Growth (CCIG), Policy Brief #4.


Dodel, M. & Aguirre, F. (2018) Uruguay, sociedad e internet: principales resultados de la encuesta WIP+DISTO Uy 2017. Montevideo: Universidad Católica del Uruguay. Available at:

Helsper, E.J. & Van Deursen, A.J.A.M. (2018) ICT Skills for the Future. Measuring the Information Society. International Telecommunications Union: Geneva (CH). Available at:

Social Tech Trust (2018) Digital Reach Insights report. London: Nominet Trust. Available at:


Helsper, E.J. (2016) Slipping through the net: Are disadvantaged young people being left further behind in the digital era? A Prince’s Trust report. Available at: 

Helsper, E.J. & Smirnova, S. (2016) Methodological Report of the Study: Socio-Digital Skills and Wellbeing of Disadvantaged Young people. Available at:

Helsper, E. J., Van Deursen, A.J.A.M., and Eynon, R. (2016) Measuring Types of Internet Use. From Digital Skills to Tangible Outcomes project report.


Helsper, E.J., Van Deursen, A.J.A.M. and Eynon, R. (2015) Tangible Outcomes of Internet Use. From Digital Skills to Tangible Outcomes Project Report.

Helsper, E. J., & Kirsch, R. M. (2015). Technical Annex for the Exclusion in a Digital UK Heatmap Metrics. Retrieved from London (UK):


Van Deursen, A.J.A.M., Helsper, E.J. and Eynon, R. (2014) Measuring Digital Skills. From Digital Skills to Tangible Outcomes. Project report.

Conference Papers & Presentations

Al-Sumait, F., Helsper, E. & Rahali, M. (2022) “Exploring (and Contesting) the Reproduction of Technological Imperialism: Adapting Digital Inequalities Research to a Multicultural Arab Environment.” British Society of Middle East Studies Conference. St. Andrews, Scotland.

Al-Sumait, F., Helsper, E., Navarro, C., Al-Saif, N., & Raut, N. (2022). “Transitioning from Tankers to Tablets? Assessing Inequalities in Kuwait's Digital Readiness.” Research Seminar. Middle East Centre, London School of Economics and Political Science.

Al-Sumait, F., Helsper, E. & Rahali, M. (2021) “Cross-cultural complexities in digital inequalities research: A Case Study of Kuwait.” International Association for Media and Communication Research Conference, Nirobi, Kenya.

Milner, H., Helsper, E.J., & Choudhury, A. (2020) Digital equality. Panel discussion at the UK IGF. Online:

Helsper, E.J. (June, 2020) Digital Skills. Presented at the Theories Webinar: Digital skills, literacies and citizenship. CO:RE network Online, London (UK). Recording at:

Helsper, E.J. (May, 2020) Citizenship in a Networked Age. Amsterdam (Netherlands). Online Symposium, recording available at: 

Helsper, E.J. (January, 2020) Sociale ongelijkheid en digitale media wijsheid. Een negatieve feedback loop? Keynote Kennis van Media Wijsheid. Netwerk Media Wijsheid, Hilversum (Netherlands).

Helsper, E.J. (December, 2019) Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Learning and Competencies. Plenary Panel Regional Forum on AI in Latin America and the Caribbean. UNESCO, Sao Paolo (Brazil).

Al-Sumait, F. (November 2019) “Evaluating Kuwait’s Digital Ecosystem: A Corresponding Fields Model for Digital Exclusion.” The Middle East Studies Association Conference. New Orleans, LA.

Helsper, E.J., Dodel, M., Menese- Camargo, P., Claro, M., Cabello, P., Navarro, D., Senne, F., Sozio, M.E. & Alfaro, A. (November, 2016) Panel on Digital Inequalities: Why they matter in Latin America. COES_LSE 2016 conference: Inequalities. Santiago, Chile.

Van Deursen, A.J.A.M., Helsper, E.J., Eynon, R. and Van Dijk, A.J.A.M. (June. 2016) Compound and Sequential Digital Exclusion: Internet Skills, Uses and Outcomes. 66th Annual ICA Conference, Fukuyama (JP).

Helsper, E.J. (October, 2015) Digital Skills and Digital Learning. ICT2015 DG Connect, European Commission Conference, Lisbon (PT)

Helsper, E.J. (July,  2015)  Measuring Skills and Outcomes of Internet Use. The 15th World Internet Project Conference. Johannesburg, (SA).

Van Deursen, A.J.A.M., Helsper, E.J. and Eynon, R. (May, 2015). Measuring Internet skills. International Communication Association Conference 2016. Puerto Rico.

Helsper, E.J. (May, 2015) Cómo la competencia mediática amplifica y contrarresta la desigualdad social. (How media literacy amplifies and counters social inequalities) CIDEC conference Keynote. Santiago de Compostela (ES).

Van Deursen, A.J.A.M., Helsper, E.J. and Eynon, R. (November, 2014). Measuring Internet skills. European Communication Research and Education Association Conference 2016. Lisboa.

Helsper, E.J., Van Deursen, A.J.A.M. & Eynon, R. (November, 2014) Difficulties in operationalising digital literacy and resilience cross-culturally and organiser of the panel ‘Defining and Measuring Literacy and Resilience in a Digital World’. 4th Annual ECREA conference. Lisbon (PT).

Eynon, R. (2014) Measuring outcomes of Internet use. ECREA 5th International Conference, November 2014, Lisbon, Portugal.

Helsper, E. J. (2014) Differences in Operationalising Digital Literacy and Resilience Cross-Culturally. ECREA 5th International Conference, November 2014, Lisbon, Portugal.

van Deursen, A.J.A.M (2014) Operationalising Digital Skills and Digital Divides. ECREA 5th International Conference, November 2014, Lisbon, Portugal.


Closing the Digital Divide: a Key Step Toward a Knowledge-based Economy. KFAS Magazine July-September 2023.

A new approach to keeping young people safe online. Financial Times, 2020.

Highlight collective responsibility and teach social communication skills to reduce cyberbullying. LSE News, 2020.

GUST professor awarded 2018 Research Fellowship by London School of Economics and Political Science. The Kuwait Times, 2017.

How social media might be changing our brains. Geek Chic Weird Science podcast, 2017.

How to stamp out trolls and make the Internet a safer place. Vice, 2016.

Blog posts

Al-Sumait, F (2022). Inequalities: The Persistent Obstacle to Kuwait’s Digital Transformation. LSE Middle East Centre Blogs.

Helsper, E.J. (2021) Studying inequalities: Understanding ‘resistance from below’ in social science research. LSE Impact Blog.

Al-Sumait, F. (2018). From Tankers to Tablets: Is Kuwait Ready for a Digital Evolution?  The London School of Economics Middle East Centre. Available at

Helsper, E.J. (2018) A broader understanding of digital skills is needed for a more equal future. Media@LSE.

About the Surveys

Internet use increases social inequalities, LSE study shows. Press release, February 2016.

Internet use translates into greater economic than social benefits in real world. Press release. May 2015.

Helsper, E.J. (2015) New Forms of Digital Inequality: Disparities in tangible outcomes from internet use. Media Policy Project Blog.

About the Heatmaps

Helsper, E.J. (2015) Measuring inequalities in a digital Britain. Media Policy Project Blog.

UK's first Digital Exclusion Heatmap launched. Press release, October 2015.

Academic publications referring to DiSTO

Allmann, K., & Blank, G. (2021). Rethinking digital skills in the era of compulsory computing: methods, measurement, policy and theory. Information, Communication & Society, 1-16. DOI: 10.1080/1369118X.2021.1874475

Cruz García, L.E. (2018). Tecnología e inclusión social. Impacto de las TIC en el espacio económico. Conference Proceedings, COMECSO, Mexico.

Cruz García, L.E. (2020). Evaluación de los usos significativos del internet en Colima. Aplicación empírica del modelos de campos correspondientes de Ellen Helsper. Doctoral Thesis, Faculdad de Ciencias Políticas y Sociales, Universidad de Colima.

Juárez, D.A., Sánchez-Navarro, J., & Mohammadi, L. (2020). Perception and self-assessment of digital skills and gaming among youth: A dataset from Spain. Data in brief, 28,

Kővári, Edit & Bak, Gerda. (2021). University Students’ Online Social Presence and Digital Competencies in the COVID-19 Virus Situation. International Workshop on Higher Education Learning Methodologies and Technologies Online (pp.158-169). Springer, Cham. 10.1007/978-3-030-67435-9_13.

Li, X., & Hu, R. (2020) Developing and validating the digital skills scale for school children (DSS-SC). Information, Communication & Society, 1-18, DOI: 10.1080/1369118X.2020.1864002

Öncül, G. (2020). Defining the need: digital literacy skills for first-year university students. Journal of Applied Research in Higher Education. Ahead of print, DOI: 

Payne, K., Russell, A., Mills, R., Maras, K., Rai, D., Brosnan, M. (2019) Is there a relationship between cyber-dependent crime, autistic-like traits and autism? Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 49,

Zhang, P. (2020) The Empowerment of Singleton Daughters? Exploring the Gender Digital Divide among Chinese College Students. Southwest Jiaotong University.


Stakeholder tools and publications

Aires, L., Pereda, V., Palmeiro, R., Amante, L., Nunes, C. (2021). Competências digitais no séc. XXI: Instrumento de Autoavaliação. LE@D, Universidade Aberta.

Cathles, A. (2020). Sources of data on digital talent in Latin America and the Caribbean. Institutions for Development Sector, Inter-American Development Bank.

Dezuanni, M., Burgess, J., Mitchell, P., Marshall, A., & Cross, A. (2018). Measuring and evaluating digital ability for digital inclusion in Queensland: A report for the Queensland Department of Housing and Public Works. 

International Telecommunication Uniton (ITU). (2020). Digital Skills Assessment Guidebook. ITU Publications.

Hafod Housing. Digital Skills Report

Lyons, A. C., & Kass-Hanna, J. (2020). A human development approach to measuring and improving the digital livelihoods of vulnerable populationsT20 Policy Brief. 

McCosker, A., Tucker, J., Critchley, C., Hiruy, K., Walshe, J., Suchowerska, R., & Barraket, J. (2020). Improving the digital inclusion of older Australians: the social impact of Be Connected. Social Innovation Research Institute, Centre for Social Impact: Swinburne University of Technology

National Health System. Why digital inclusion matters to health and social care

Nominet Trust (2019). Social Impact Report. Nominet's Public Benefit 2018/19.

OECD (2019). Educating 21st Century Children: Emotional Well-Being in the Digital Age. Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

Skills for Londoners Innovation Fund (2019). Guidance on measuring and evidencing outcomes. Mayor of London.

UK Parliament (2021) Developing Essential Digital Skills. Post Note 643. Available at:

World Bank Group. Endendering ICT Toolkit.

World Skills UK. Disconnected? Exploring the digital skills gap





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