Digital Divide - Explained
What is the Digital Divide?
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Table of ContentsWhat is the Digital Divide?A Little More on What is the Digital DivideAcademic Research on Digital Divide
What is the Digital Divide?
Digital Divide is the social and economic inequality in terms of accessibility of Information and Communication Technologies. Those on the disadvantaged side of the divide lack access to the internet, thus missing out on all of the information and service available thereon.
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What Causes the Digital Divide
There are numerous contributors to the digital divide:
- Socioeconomic Status - Socioeconomic differences between people contribute the digital divide among them. The people from higher socioeconomic strata have easier access to the Internet, while people in the lower strata lack accessibility.
- Location - There are also geographic differences contributing to the digital divide. This is true both in geography and between the urban areas and rural areas. Certain geographies have greater Internet access. Also, individuals in rural areas often lack the infrastructure to have adequate access to the Internet. The availability of internet connection differs in developed nations, developing countries, and emerging nations.
- Education - Level of education is another factor that creates the divide. Geographical location also affects accessibility.
The digital divide is actually larger than simple access to the internet. It has been proved that access to Information and communication technologies, such as smartphones and computers, impacts the lives of people.
Traditionally, the digital divide refers to the adaptability of technology by different groups. Later, Internet access became the most crucial parameter to measure the gap.
In recent years, as inexpensive mobile phones have proliferated globally with improved network coverage, the digital divide is now the relative inequality between people with different bandwidth or skills.
The digital divide can be described as, who, with which characteristics, connects how to what.
- "Who"- individuals, businesses, schools and universities, hospitals, organizations, etc.
- With which characteristics" - socioeconomic status, education, geographic location, age, etc.
- "Connects how" - minimal access, intensive and extensive access, innovation, etc.
- "To what" - mobile phone, fixed line, broadband, digital TV, etc.