The importance of information and communication technologies (ICTs) continues to grow as we build towards a possible metaverse (i.e., 3D internet). In particular, foundational interactive media technologies such as video games, virtual reality, and augmented reality provide many exciting opportunities for research, education, and outreach. However, we must consider that some of the opportunities and benefits provided by these technologies will not be shared equally.

My research explores the complex role of interactive media in the digital inequality stack and how we can better utilize these technologies to promote digital inclusion and other prosocial purposes. In essence, I examine both the positive effects of interactive media technologies and the potential negative ramifications of their absence.

I accomplish this task by examining digital inequality and interactive media effects across various ICTs, demographic groups, and research methodologies. For instance, I have conducted research across the life course with elementary-age students, college students, and older adults. I have also employed both qualitative and quantitative research methodologies to gain a more holistic understanding of ICT effects.

In sum, my research focuses on the prosocial benefits of interactive media use and the unique role that interactive media technologies play in both the proliferation and amelioration of digital inequality. Therefore, my primary interests exist at the intersection of digital inequality scholarship and prosocial interactive media effects research.

Photo Credit: Pramod Acharya