Is a global problem, affecting people all over the world. On every continent. In every country. Rich or poor.
The digital world is all pervasive, and enables us to do so much more then we could without it.
Participation in the digital world has become essential to living in the modern world. It affects our private, professional, and public lives.
The digital divide is established by the haves and the have nots. It manifests itself by a lack of access to digital technologies such as digital hard- and software, and or digital networks (e.g. the internet) (“Digital Divide,” 2016).
Factors creating this divide:
In Australia according to Ewing (2016), only 51% of people over the age of 65 are currently accessing the internet.
The Smith Family’s head of policy Wendy Field says that while 90% advantaged communities have access to the Internet, this drops to 70% for the disadvantaged (Perkins, 2016).
Rural areas have lesser access to the Internet and broadband services, than their urban counterparts (Thomas, et all, 2016).
North Korea only provides a privileged few with access to the Internet (Williams, 2010).
Effects of the Digital Divide
Access to government services
More and more government services are now being provided via the web (ACT Government, n. D.).
People without access are missing out.
“According to Pew Research Center, 5 million households in the United States lack Internet access, yet seven in 10 teachers assign homework that requires access to the web.” (Glass, 2016)
In one example a principal “noted that close to 90 percent of the students do not have internet access at home” (Glass, 2016).
Bridging the Digital Divide
We have both public and private initiatives that are working on their own or in cooperation to overcome the digital divide.
Governments around the world are implementing policies geared towards providing internet access to as many of their people as possible.
While at the same time private ventures are trying to ensure all people have access to the internet (Dickerson, 2015).
Many governments have programs in place to provide students with access to ICT to no or low cost. Sometimes in partnership with private projects, such as the One Laptop Per Child project.
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