Digital Divide: An unfair opportunity

If your reading this article, you are likely reading it on your laptop or phone. You could be reading it in different places such as while riding public transportation, in your bed or in a library. If digital communication has become the center of your time, commitment and productivity, you are privileged. Although, if you lived in another place with lower socio-economic status, spoke another language or were a different gender, you might not be able or find it difficult to read this article.

How it has evolved

As digital divide used to determine the gap between spaces and demographics with or without telephone access, it since the beginning of the 20th century also includes demographics and spaces with internet access and modern technologies. This exclusive phenomenon typically appears between rural and urban areas (Cecilia Kang), between the more and less industrialized nations or between the educated and uneducated demographic spaces. Digital divide can also occur between demographics that have slow internet access because of lower performance computers and better internet and communication access thanks to higher performance computer.

Who it concerns

“Ninety percent of the population of the world’s poorest 48 countries remain offline.” (Adam Chandler) The majority of the population, have trouble getting ahead with technology because of the expenses of internet access and communication material (laptops, smartphone…). This occurs all over the world but also within the United Sates between those who adopt broadband or those who cannot “for many reasons — especially cost — and the adoption problem particularly affects low-income people.” (Cecilia Kang). Also, socio-economic status are also correlated to more or less educational privileges and therefore the ability to have access to languages leaning support. Adam Chandler clarifies the importance of the issue: “Only five percent of the world’s 7,100 languages are represented on the Internet.” People that might not know how to speak English or any other language that is widely used on the internet are disadvantaged in this case.

Another group of people that are disadvantaged in certain areas are women: “In the developing world, 25 percent fewer women have Internet access than men — that number goes to 50 percent in parts of sub-Saharan Africa.” In some places, men and women might have the same access to technology, but in some regions such as parts of Sub-Saharan Africa in this example this might not be the case.

The digital divide completely isolates those specific populations from the free trade market and the social globalization. A free trade market is a privilege as the more freedom in business, the more of a “prosperous society and a social globalization”, and the social globalization is as it “pertains to human interaction within cultural communities” (Alison Datko). This privilege is actually a very good way to make money and money allows access to internet which opens up business and therefore access to making money, it is a cycle.

It concerns America. Bridging the Digital Divide.” Washington Post. The Washington Post, 13 Nov. 2013. Web. 13 Sept. 2016.

The bigger problem

This issue has been increasingly problematic as generations rise towards a more digital communication active society. Nowadays people only communicate through email, text message or phone calls and this has been absorbed into our daily routine. However, it has been completely exclusive to certain territories and demographics that do not have the economical or locational advantages.

Margaret Rouse, fairly enough, explains that a closing of the digital technology “would improve literacy, democracy, social mobility, economic equality and economic growth”. Message would more easily be transferred between territories in the entire world, including every part of it.

Why we should care

If people want a world with an equal market, equal opportunity and fair competition across economic, language barrier and people of all genders, then people should start off with the exact same resources. We as global citizens should fight for equal access to internet and communication technology.

Sources:

Kang, Cecilia. “The Challenges of Closing the Digital Divide.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 08 June 2016. Web. 13 Sept. 2016.

Chandler, Adam. “How Much of the World Has Regular Internet Access?” The Atlantic. Atlantic Media Company, 22 Sept. 2015. Web. 12 Sept. 2016.

Datko, Alison. “What Is Social Globalization?” Our Everyday Life. StudioD, n.d. Web. 12 Sept. 2016.

Rouse, Margaret. “What Is Digital Divide? — Definition from WhatIs.com.” WhatIs.com. Margaret Rouse, June 2014. Web. 12 Sept. 2016.

Bridging the Digital Divide.” Washington Post. The Washington Post, 13 Nov. 2013. Web. 13 Sept. 2016.

By Law. Under Heading Closing the Digital Divide. Retrieved February 11, 2009. “Digital Divide.” — New World Encyclopedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Sept. 2016.