Digital Divide

Topics: Computer, Internet, Digital divide Pages: 8 (2648 words) Published: August 12, 2011
In today’s society everything seem to be embedded in media communication technology especially computer technology and the Internet. Societies rely on the Internet for different purposes; it can either be for education or even to fulfill their personal needs. Most advertisement are found in the Internet, therefore any information that people need they can access it through the Internet. Internet has become an important source of information and it is also where people can market their ideas or even find jobs. Most jobs in industries involve computer technology; therefore people have to learn how to operate computers in order to obtain highly paid positions. Without skills, access to computer technology and the Internet can be a disadvantage. Due to the fact that computer technology and Internet is so important to people, digital divide become the key issue in today’s society. The purpose of this essay is to discuss digital divide, its causes, and the consequences it can pose to the society and how it can be solved in order for everyone to have equal access to computer technology and the Internet. The researcher of this essay will argue why digital divide should be solved before it deepens. The essay will commence by giving a brief discussion of digital divide, what it entails. The causes of digital divide will be discussed in the next section; thirdly the researcher will state the consequences of digital divide that might affect the society and will also offer solutions on how to close the gap. Lastly there will be a conclusion summarising the whole essay. 1.1 Overview of digital divide

Digital divide can be defined as the gap between those who do and those who do not have access to computer technology, the Internet and the ability or skills to use them (Van Dijk 2005:1). The emergence of the term emerged in the mid 1990s after the growth of the Internet (Whalley 2007:70). Digital divide is a long term problem that will mark all future information societies. Digital divide segregate the society into two parts, which is the haves and have-nots. “Haves” are those people who are from the top or upper class, they are perceived as living comfortably and capable of obtaining a vast range of resources, including those that allow them to take part in the digital revolution (Mack 2001:36). On the other hand, the “have-nots” are those people who are from the lower class; they are viewed as living in unstable environments piecing together meager resources just to keep roofs over their heads and food on the table (Mack 2001:36). The researcher has found that digital divide has the greatest potential to doom the have-nots to the status of permanent underclass.

According to Van Dijk (2005:3), people mainly focused on the cost and availability of computer technology and the Internet when the term digital divide first come into sight. As computer prices fall, the number of people having access to computer technology increased, therefore it shows that it is not all about the high cost of technology but also that there are certain technical skills needed, in order to operate a computer (Dijk & Hacker 2003:315). People need to have knowledge, skills and abilities on how to use information and communication technologies (ICTs). People need to have skills such as instrumental skills that enable them to operate a computer, informational skills that enable them to search and process information, and strategic skills that will help them on how to use the information effectively (Dijk & Hacker, 2003:317). 2 CAUSES OF DIGITAL DIVIDE

2.1 Income difference
Income difference is the most important factor for physical access, although it strongly correlates with education, employment status and occupation (Van Dijk 2005:50). The amount of money that people earn determines what they will afford to buy. For example people who earn more income are more likely to own computers, Internet connections and smart...
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