Many of us hear the term digital divide or digital gap within the news only from politicians and policymakers. The term digital divide is additionally a standard term in macro reports within the field of digital literacy.
All of this leads us to think less about defining the digital divide and its instances or to ascertain what our role and position are within the face of this phenomenon. In this article, we’ll check out the concept of the digital divide, its types, factors, causes, effects & examples.
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What is Digital Divide?
The meaning of the term Digital Divide and its indicators are still controversial. The digital divide is a term that describes global distribution inequalities in access to information and communication technology.
In other words, we can define the digital divide as a signal of the threat of powerful powers that distribute the world into unequal parts in terms of access to information in the 21st century. It is the inequality that took place between different countries of the world, which arises from how they use information and communication technology for economic & social development.
Types of Digital Divide
There are many types of the digital divide that affect internet access, a number of the clear gaps in digital inequality include:
The Split Between The Sexes
According to a 2013 report, the net gender gap is very striking in developing countries, although mobile connectivity is extremely popular, it’s not spread evenly.
Men in low-income countries are 90% more likely to have a smartphone than women, and this translates into 184 million women who lack access to a mobile, even among women who own a mobile phone, 1.2 billion women in low and middle-income countries haven’t any access. To the net.
Internet access creates relationships and social circles between people with common interests. Social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook create peer groups online supported similar interests. More than ever, internet use has affected the social condition that’s evident in societies between those online and people offline. Offline groups are marginalized since they are doing not share the advantages of the net for connected groups.
The Overall Access Gap
Individuals with physical disabilities are often deprived when it involves accessing the net, they’ll have the mandatory skills but cannot take benefit of accessible hardware and software.
Some parts of the planet will remain stop from the web and its enormous potential because of a lack of digital literacy skills, low levels of education, and insufficient broadband infrastructure.
Reasons For the Digital Divide
Following are the list of most important reason that are main causes of the digital divide.
- The digital divide stems from the gradual spread of the latest technologies. The digital gap is inevitable because rich countries have enough experience and additional income to use these technologies.
- Lack of skills in using information and communication technologies. In other words, they’re unable to use this technology thanks to obstacles like language, political and cultural customs.
- Lack of access to the network and lack of physical infrastructure, network, software, etc.
- Sometimes government policies not only don’t support the expansion and development of technology but also delay the expansion of data technology, creating a digital divide.
The digital divide is additionally a matter of private choice. Some people haven’t any desire to use information technology in the least. As a result, the obstacles to the event of the digital gap remain somewhat ambiguous.
Factors of the Digital Divide
Following are some important factors that cause the digital divide:
In comparing different factors, the role of cultural factors is extra important than economic and infrastructural factors. The factors such as destructive economic, social, cultural, and political effects are deeper than traditional inequalities in the digital divide. All the studied variables explain 55.3% of the changes in physical access.
Economic And Infrastructural Factors
Economic and infrastructural factors directly and digitally affect the digital gap through the mediating role of motivational contact.
Digital Technology Divide
In the last two decades, the distance between people who have access to computers as well as the Internet and those who don’t have access to it has become one of the greatest factors of the digital divide.
Resource Distribution Factors
The direct factor of the digital divide is uneven access to digital technology in society is the way lots of resources are distributed. By resources, it’s not only the material resources such as income and equipment ownership. There are other sources as well, including the following:
- Time (opportunity to use new media)
- Mental resources (sufficient technical knowledge)
- Social resources (networks and communications that help the individual to access technology)
- Cultural resources ( cultural rewards and the status that each culture places on the person who has access to technology)
Therefore, both the people and the policymakers can only acquire steps to decrease the causes of the digital divide or avoid the digital gap from extending. Governments and statesmen, through their policies and decisions, play a central role in the distribution of resources.
Effect of Digital Divide
From a social perspective, new economic and social inequalities arise when a big portion of the population doesn’t have access to all or any important technologies. Similarly, there are two opposing poles in new technologies, and that they clearly affect the labor market:
- People who have full access to technology.
- And those who don’t have access to technology because it’s complex, costly, or impossible.
This gap exists not only between different countries but also within countries. this suggests that in some cities of a rustic there could also be suitable facilities and in other cities, it’s going to not exist.
Therefore, countries that will not use information and communication technology (ICT) lose the competition. Additionally, the difference between those that have access to them and people who don’t have access to them within the same country is creating a replacement gap within the market. In those countries, top people often attend work and choose their job.
What is Digital Divide In Computer?
The simple definition of the digital divide is that it is the breach between demographics and regions that have the right to use the latest information and communications technology and those that don’t or have restricted permissions. The major components of this technology are:
- Personal Computers
Digital Divide in Education
The Internet is an informative library, there are quite ever before many educational platforms where you’ll be able to learn advanced skills. Access to information and communication technology has been linked to academic success and excellent research projects. Education strengthens the mind. It’s necessary to stay at pace with this sector to attain remarkable success for the individual and society.
Why is The Digital Divide a Problem?
The digital divide may be a term that refers to the space between those that have effective access to digital technology and information technology and people who have little or no access to those technologies. It also includes an imbalance within the resources and skills to use technology effectively and efficiently.
Therefore, consistent with the above definition and also the newest definitions, the digital divide is a great problem because it creates two major inequalities:
- Lack of access to equipment
- Inability or necessary knowledge to use the equipment
Another important problem caused by the digital drive is the way to use technology. All these issues prove that the digital drive is a very big problem.
Bridging the Digital Divide
Findings show that the most central issues in filling the digital divide are focusing on literacy and raising the scientific level of people, suitable distribution of Internet access, generating conditions for all individuals to access technology and technology, explaining the necessity of using Internet technology in business, proper and valid planning, equipping schools with internet networks, etc.
Furthermore, bridging the digital divide also includes paying attention to the educational approach and development of library additional services. Other solutions in this field are:
- Equipping computer resources and facilities.
- Hardware and software capability building to upgrade existing computer systems.
- Reviewing the collection policy.
- Providing users with access to Internet services.
- Creating offline services Such as an electronic reference desk, holding information literacy workshops, creating and updating the library website, and encouraging users to use web services.
- Interacting with educational institutions, and encouraging users to use services that use modern information tools.
Examples Of Digital Divide
Individuals may lack access to the net due to low literacy levels, as college graduates are 10 times more likely to collect the regular benefits of computers and therefore the internet than non-college graduates.
Low-income levels also can be a factor; individuals with a $75,000 annual income are 20 times more likely to access the net compared with those with a $30,000 annual income, and computer ownership and high-speed internet are 10 times more familiar for wealthy families than low-income families.
The transformation of the economic society into an information society, and thus the polarization of the globe, one among which is that the pole of advanced countries in terms of knowledge and communication technology and also the second pole of societies that haven’t achieved or are seeking to attain it, is inevitable.
But just talking about information and communication technology and its role isn’t enough, strategic planning, product management, and continuous training are necessary to empower manpower together with equipping technical and cultural infrastructure.
The major issue isn’t only the technical limitations of access to technology, but the cultural problems of using them effectively also are more serious.