Early school leavers’ attitudes towards online self-presentation and explicit participation

Paulo Moekotte*, Saskia Brand-Gruwel, Henk Ritzen, Robert-Jan Simons

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


    Active participation in economic and social settings increasingly demands social–communicative skills, i.e., interactive and interpersonal skills, as well as the networking skills to access and use resources provided by online social networks. The development of these skills both depends upon and determines the proficient and strategic use of social media and explicit participation in different types of formal or informal networks and communities. Low-educated early school leavers typically lack the access, awareness and attitude required to develop these skills, suggesting a widening digital divide or participation gap. This study presents results regarding low-educated early school leavers’ attitudes towards social media and social networks as a factor that can influence the conditions and opportunities that determine or enhance their economic and social mobility and improvement. The data were analyzed by means of 12 cases. Looking beneath the surface of a complex compound problem involving cultural, social and attitudinal factors, we found signs of ambivalence or even conflict in attitudes, stemming from personal doubts and insecurities or contextual fears and restraints. These attitudinal thresholds should be overcome by aiding and supporting these young people as much as possible in gaining leverage in the online world of ‘haves and have nots’.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)171-184
    Number of pages14
    JournalComputers in human behaviour
    Early online date14 Mar 2015
    Publication statusPublished - Aug 2015


    • early school leavers
    • social media
    • selective self-presentation
    • explicit participation
    • sociality
    • employability


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