The term ‘digital divide’ refers to the breach between those who have access to information and communication tools such as the internet and those who do not. It is commonly thought that the digital divide is mainly between the rich and the poor; however there are many other factors that lead to this. These factors are characterized by community, ethnic, technological and age groups. Therefore, this essay will be focusing on the explanation of the digital divide and its effects. According to the 1999 U. S.
Department of Commerce report: falling through the net, it has been stated that some communities are gaining greater access to information technologies whilst others are falling behind. This is fairly prejudiced as those who do not have access to the internet may be because they live in rural areas. Countries in Southern Africa such as Zambia are really suffering due to this. By having internet, not only will these Zambians be more aware of what’s happening in the world, but they will also be able to access information to widen their knowledge.
However, those who live in the urban areas such as Lagos, have the contact to technology. This not only creates a division between people who come from the same nationality, but it also makes the people disperse and lose their brotherhood. Elderly people are the next biggest factor that contributes to the digital divide. Most elderly people are uneducated and thus do not understand the importance of knowing about technology. The elderly population also might have physical limitations that may preclude them from accessing the Internet.
As we age, our bodies deteriorate, our eyes may not be as clear as they once were, our hearing may become less acute, and arthritis may make one’s hands harder and harder to move, or we fall victim to Alzheimer’s disease. In addition to this, a person’s lack of education may be because of financial or cultural reasons. They may not be able to afford it or they may not be allowed because it may not be in their culture. This is the reason why education plays such a big role in our lives, if someone’s low income prevents their children from going to school it will also be prevention from access to the outside world.
The availability of such technology has affected the number of people that access it. An example of this is from an internet report that 96% of homes in California have access to broadband internet. This makes California the leader in broadband availability amongst all 50 states. In addition to this, teenagers are most likely to use the internet for homework or for social networking sites. This is why it is more common between 12-19 year olds. However, if these teenagers are not able to communicate to other teenagers in Africa or Asia, then they will never understand what is going on there.
They will stay naive and narrow minded To conclude, I believe that the digital divide should not exist and should be erased from our society as it causes a disparity between two groups of people. It causes prejudice and unfairness in our society. Everyone should be treated the same, everyone should be allowed to have access to technology and information. The solution to all of this is to get rid of the digital divide and make people understand that we are not competing against each other but we are trying to help those who are below us.