Economic inequality across countries has been a problem faced by society for a vast number of years. Now, however, the Digital Divide has further escalated this problem, fast forwarding the issue in a world vastly driven by the advance of online technology.
As explained in the video above, the Digital Divide refers to ‘the gap between demographics and regions that have access to modern information and communications technology, and those that don’t or have restricted access. This technology can include the telephone, television, personal computers and the Internet.’
As shown in the graphs above, the disparity in connectivity across the World is huge. Iceland, the world’s most connected country in 2008, had a 90.6% connected society compared to the 0.2% of Myanmar, the world’s least connected country. In 2015, 86% of Britain’s households were connected to the internet. These figures display some shocking figures that highlight just how vast this problem is.
The digital divide is a national and international issue and below are some contrasting factors that have an effect on this.
On an international level. A lack of internet access has a detrimental effect on businesses and employment in less connected developing countries. This is because, with a lack of access to social media, for example, communication is much more difficult. Therefore, it is harder for firms to advertise and communicate on a global basis. This means that they may not reach the intended audience that they need to in order to prosper and grow.
Furthermore, individuals may not have the necessary platform needed to find and take work. This is highlighted by the BBC with the concept of ‘Wi-Fi villages’ where citizens living in Hungary’s rural areas were given PCs with which they could get online. One villager was able to contact an old friend, creating 20 construction jobs for himself and other villagers. This, therefore, shows the importance and power of being able to get online and access social media for work, as well as the disadvantage that those without social face.
The digital divide is also a national problem. Carvin found, in an article titled “The Gap” (2006), that nearly 90% of American households in which someone has attained graduate-level education had access to the internet. Conversely, below 16% of people without a high school diploma had access. This correlation strongly suggests that those with access to the internet are more successful in education.
Even this blog post, as well as all the images and videos attached, are all examples of the use of social media in education. I feel as though the level of interactivity offered by many social media platforms, helps students at all levels to excel. This has been the case throughout my own education.
The video above shows some of the issues faced by students in one of America’s poorest districts, as well as some of attempts to bridge the divide. However, the digital divide is not merely a problem to do with the lack of implementation of certain technologies. It is also to do with being able to properly use them. According to the WEF, an international organization aimed at improving the global economy, it is a matter of businesses and academic institutions embracing these technologies. This suggests in order to solve this issue, it is not only a matter of providing technology, but also changing attitudes.
UK jumps up internet scoreboard as digital divide grows (2013). BBC News. Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-24426739
What is the Digital Divide? (2013). YouTube. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qQD5soc2r7Y
Digital Divide (2014). WhatIs. Available at: http://whatis.techtarget.com/definition/digital-divide
World wakes unto digital divide (2010). BBC News. Available at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/8568681.stm
What is the Digital Divide’s Impact on Learning (2014). Education. Available at: http://www.education.com/reference/article/what-digital-divides-impact-learning/
Internet Access – Households and Individuals: 2015. Office for National Statistics. Available at: http://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/householdcharacteristics/homeinternetandsocialmediausage/bulletins/internetaccesshouseholdsandindividuals/2015-08-06
Mind the Gap: The World’s ‘Digital Divide’ is not Closing Anytime Soon (2014). Newsweek. Available at: http://europe.newsweek.com/mind-gap-worlds-digital-divide-not-closing-any-time-soon-248454?rm=eu
Education: Helping Students Combat the Digital Divide (2015). YouTube. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8KSkWalmV1s