Digital Divide

Topics: Developing country, Developed country, Human Development Index Pages: 8 (2725 words) Published: March 14, 2013
At the present time, people are living in a world where they have Google to answer all their questions, Facebook and IMs to connect with their networks, YouTube to watch things happen all over the globe, cellphones and laptops to makes their lives easier. However, there are still people out there that don't have the capacity to have these privileges. Thus, building the Digital Divide: a gap that separates the rich and the poor, a gap that is still widening up to this day and a gap that definitely needs to be bridged. This research paper defines and discusses the issues with Digital Divide. It then enumerates the various efforts that have been made to bridge the gap. It also highlights on the importance of improving the digital divide between socioeconomic countries. Lastly, it includes a recommendation and a conclusion on how to decrease the gap further and how decreasing the gap can benefit both the developed and developing countries.

Digital Divide
The digital divide has a wide range of discrepancies. It could pertain to the gap between those who can use information technology effectively and those who cannot, the gap between the rich and poor or between rural and urban, all of which afflicts people with low income in developing nations. Furthermore, Digital Divide can be viewed from two angles: “the existing gap between countries that have sufficient access to electronic information and those that don’t, and (2) the difference in Internet literacy between developed and undeveloped countries” (Brooks, Donovan & Rumble, 2005). This gap creates digital inequality and can widen or narrow down depending on the pace of a country’s growth. Unwin & de Bastion (2009) discusses that the digital divide can further be shaped through the main structural factors: connectivity, accessibility, literacies, content and information, and networks and communications. Connectivity pertains to the presence or absence of appropriate infrastructure to enable the use of ICTs. Accessibility relates to the gap between those who have access and can effectively use ICTs from those who cannot. It is mostly reflected from the socioeconomic inequalities among different countries. Literacy is described as the inability to understand and use ICTs. Content and information highlights the importance of relevant information as it gives meaningfulness to ones access to ICTs. This issue is seen from the relevant languages available among ICTs, which are usually dominated by the English language and limited to other languages. Lastly, networks and communication pertains to the formation of new ways of communicating to one’s network. This factor is evident through technologies like the Internet, which enables people from different geographic locations can communicate easily (Unwin & de Bastion 2009). In Africa, there is an average of 1.74 PCs per 100 inhabitants, while in Oceania has an average of 50.84. For telephone subscribers, there are 11.50 per 100 inhabitants in Africa, 32.98 in Asia, 76.66 in America and 111.72 in Europe on average (Unwin & de Bastion 2009). It can be seen that Africa is the least well-served part of the world in terms of Information & Communications Technologies (ICTs). In developing countries, such as India, the rate of access to the Internet of the urban households in 2008 was 10 times that of rural ones (Singh, 2010). The research also stressed the evident inequality with regards to the portion of female Internet users with 51% in USA and Canada, 43% in Norway, 37% in Germany, 35% in Malaysia, and 19% in South Africa (Unwin & de Bastion 2009).

Moreover, digital divide isn’t only seen between rich and poor countries; it can also be evident within the social divides of within countries. The UN e-Government Global Readiness Report accounted that although middle-class UK suburbs had the highest percentage of broadband users, 40% of UK households still don’t have Internet access. Furthermore,...
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