The Digital Divide
The Digital Divide is “the state of inequality that exists between people who have access to modern information technology and those who do not, since the former have many more opportunities open to them than the latter,” (2008). Some argue that this gap is shrinking in the U.S. due to public access and mobile devices. Online learning is also a catalyst in bridging the gap, but the question remains; how will those who need it most gain the access they need? While this is a global issue, this paper will focus on the digital divide here in the United States due to socioeconomics, such as income and race, and how mobile devices, public access and online education are bridging this divide and the concerns on their effectiveness.
In the United States, the wealthiest 1% of the population controls more than 40% of our resources. Overall, the top 20% control more than 90% of the wealth and the bottom 80% controls just 7% of the actual physical wealth in this country (Domhoff, 2011). A study by the Pew Internet & American Life Project confirms that the digital divide is largely a function of this economic divide. The findings indicate that 87% of high income families (making more than $75,000 a year) have high-speed Internet access in their homes compared to 40% of families making less than $30,000 a year (2001). The following graph was included in the Pew study and visually portrays the economic difference in access to broadband access at home, cell phone ownership and internet usage. These findings lead to a possible answer to bridging the divide through cell phone internet access as, 75% of those with income below $30 thousand still have a cell phone in their pocket. “Currently, 88% of American adults have a cell phone, [while] 57% have a laptop,” (Pew, 2012).
The economic divide is also one of culture; in 2007, the average white household had 15 times as much total wealth as the average African-American or Latino household(Domhoff,...
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