This article examines the complex connections between literacy practices, the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) and disadvantage. It reports the findings of a year-long study which investigated the ways in which four families use ICTs to engage with formal and informal literacy learning in home and school settings. The research set out to explore what it is about computer-mediated literacy practices at home and at school in disadvantaged communities that makes a difference in school success. The findings demonstrate that the 'socialisation' of the technology - its appropriation into existing family norms, values and lifestyles - varied from family to family. Having access to ICTs at home was not sufficient for the young people and their families to overcome the so-called 'digital divide'. The article concludes that old inequalities have not disappeared, but are playing out in new ways in the context of the networked society.