Technology is becoming more and more important in all aspects of people’ lives nowadays, namely access to computers and internet. It Is believed that technology will guide businesses In the 21st century. However, It Is argued that It would be nonsense to strongly rely on computer when in fact, for the big portion of population, access to computer and internet is not a reality. The main purpose of this essay is to outline the advantage and disadvantages of improving the digital divide by firstly address all the factors or barriers that contribute to the digital divide issues.
Next, It will come up with some alternative solutions of how digital divide can be overcome and lastly, this essay will outline all the advantages and disadvantages of bridging the digital divide. Interaction between human and the information technology is increasing greatly in the 21st century. The ability to access to information technology is significantly important for a person to actively take part in the economic, social aspect of the world. However, there are only 39% of world population have access to this technology (Refer to Appendix 1).
The term ‘Digital Divide” has quickly become so popular that It has entered everyday speech as shorthand for any and every disparity within the online community. In this essay, the digital divide or digital split refers to the gap between the underprivileged members of the society, namely those who are poor; live in rural area or elderly, and those who are wealthy, and young people living in city and suburban areas who have the better condition to access to the computer and internet. (Norris P, 2001). There are many factors that contribute to the rate of digital divide.
Importance Of Digital Divide
These are educations, income and race. It Is obviously that people who have higher level of education are more likely to use the computer and the internet. Based on statistic, it is notable that the higher the qualification of a person is, the more likely he or she use computer and internet (Refer to appendix B). The second factors affecting the digital divide are income. Not surprisingly, the amount of a person’s income directly relates to the chance that he or she being able to use computer internet.
That Is, those who earn over $75000 are 20 times more likely to have Internet access than those who earn a lower Income. Refer to appendix C). The last but not least factor Is race. The digital delve also varies along very specific racial line. Alternatively, white are the most likely race to use computer compare to Black and Hispanic. (Refer to appendix D). It is hard to imagine life without a computer, yet the majority of the population do not own one, that is 61% of the world population.
Moreover, there are many barriers to internet and broadband adoption, such as lack of understanding. Many people with limited education have no knowledge about the benefit of Internet so they refuse to adopt one. The other barrier Is lack of necessary skills. There are people who might own computer and broadband but they have no idea how to effectively use them as they are unfamiliar with information technology or no confident to use them, they are mainly elderly people. In addition, affordability also amount to the barrier to computer and broadband adoption.
The first two barriers can be easily addressed through government programmer or policies to Implement the necessary education about the usefulness of computer and 2014) It is extremely important to focus on bridging the digital divide. In our society, he distribution between the rich and the poor are already heavily unbalanced. It is believed that accessing to computer and the internet can even make the gap even more unbalanced. Why? This is due to the powerful advantages of those who have access to information technology.
Those who are without access will be even poorer. Thus, there must be something being done in order to seal the digital divide gap. It is believed that it will not only be the cost of computer implementation but also the cost of literacy educated among those who are underprivileged. The digital divide is a tremendous and complicated issue. However, the obstacle is not insurmountable if it is put into specific tasks to be completed. Apart from the financial issues mentioned above, there are several strategies that could help minimize the digital divide issues.
They are universal access, improving the current access by developing more community access centers, providing well trained technical staffs and change of society mindset toward technology. Firstly, universal access means that government should have some policy to support computer and Internet access for low income household. Also, the private sector should seek out to provide equal services and outwork to rural areas so that every person can Join. Secondly, it is a good idea to improve current access by developing more community access.
Community access centers (Sacs) are a critical resource for those without access to computers and the Internet at school or work; those programs need to continue to receive funding in order to grow stronger. Thirdly, better trained technical staff should be provided. This is because technologies by themselves are not enough. Organization should seek out to train and develop more qualified, educated staffs. Those staffs need to be able to teach others as well. Lastly, society needs to change its attitude towards technology. At the moment, many people view computer and internet as unnecessary luxury rather than crucial necessities.
This must be changed. They must be more open minded to recognize the power of information technologies and consider them as necessity for themselves and their children’s future. ( “Digital Divide Issues”) There are a lot of action should be taken in order to effectively bridging the digital divide issues. Yet, there are also many projects that are happening to take part in bridging the digital divide. The most successful project is One Laptop per Child (LOOP) (About One Laptop per Child, see appendix E) which is supported by the One Laptop per Child Association and the Cambridge based LOOP Foundation.
This project basically gives children across the developing countries a good opportunity access to knowledge and opportunities to explore experiment and express themselves. With many strategies and technique that we aim to improve the digital divide, there are many controversies relating to the issue of bridging the digital divide. There are of course, many advantages regarding to improve the digital divide. The major arguments include improving economic equality, social mobility and democracy, and most importantly, contribute to economic growth.
However, there are also some issues associates with bridging the divide. These problems can be summarized as costly, education expenses and arising concern of the negative effect to young children if we overcome the digital divide. Firstly, bridging the digital divide can improve economic equality. It is argued that a better access to the information and countries. A good example of this is telephone. Telephone is important for security and safety purpose. Safety and other emergencies such as in an event of accident might surely be handled well if the person has access to telephone.
Besides, it is seemed to be that most of vital information for people’s career, insurances or safety is now provided through the internet. Even social welfare services are now usually processed electronically. Thus, less digital divide amount to better economic equality. ( “Digital Divide Issues”) Secondly, bridging the digital divide issue can contribute to better social mobility. Information technologies, namely computer and internet contribute greatly to people learning and career. Thus, the government need to emphasize on how to basically use computer and internet.
Without those offers, the existing digital divide will not bring a fair condition to the children in the lower socioeconomic status. If developing countries were being exposed to computer literacy, it will lead them to development of their countries, working more efficiently and become more aware of the society. Thirdly, democracy is another advantage when relating to bridge the digital divide issues. It is no doubt that the increase in usage of internet may well lead to a more democratic society due to an increase in public participation and decision making processes.
If underrepresented people are unable to participate in such forums, the digital divide will reinforce a socio- economic and socio-political divide. Those factors lead to the lesson that improving the digital divide will have great advantages for the current digital disadvantaged, as well as for the society in general. (“Digital Divide Issues”) Finally, the last and most important advantage of bridging the digital divide is it indeed contributes to economic growth. Bridging the digital divide will definitely be a faster way to economic growth for some less developed countries.
Information technology usually tends to have a relationship with productivity empowerment. The effective use of CIT should give business of certain country a comparative advantage. Furthermore, if the digital divide was successfully closed, this would be an advantage when referring to more economic opportunity as more and more careers require a good use of computer skill. The smaller the digital divide is, the more economical opportunity a certain country may have. ( “Digital Divide Issues”) On the other hand, some problem eight arise from bridging the digital divide.
As mentioned above, the main problem is the cost of bridging digital divide. There is no doubt that digital divide are seen as instrumental in meeting other human needs such as needs for food, needs for a Job, business needs, medical needs, needs for useful information and so on. A closer look will recognize that TIC are rarely goods in themselves but rather instrument in pursuit of other goals. People are living healthily, happily for millions years without CIT and they still do. CIT should be regard as an instrument in meeting other human, social, economic or political purposes.
Thus, it is argued that resources available for CIT should be wisely spent on something that fulfill human basics needs such as building schools, hospital or to train more better teachers rather than supply a limited number of rural school with computer and internet connection. (Kingston K, Kumar D,2003) Moreover, the idea of bridging the digital divide might be seen as useless where organizations donate technology for underrepresented population but do not provide them with some specific guidance of how do they actually use those as shown a few problems of this project.
One, this project seeks to impose technology with little appreciation of local needs or conditions. That is, those area where the laptop is donated do not yet need laptop, they need some other basic supplement such as food and education rather than technology. Secondly, this project only concerns with the provision of the hardware and software of the computers, but no inclusion of training material and supports. People in rural area might receive a handful of technology but they have no idea of how to use them.
Leaning M, 2010) In addition, bridging the digital divide could lead to a negative impact on young children if care were not taken properly. Children are often regarded as “digital naive”. Wrong use of technology could lead to a significant change in behavior of children at early age. Thus it might not be a positive thing to let children exposed to technology at the early age. In summaries, the digital divide is a tremendous issue that should be look out for. Technology is vital to people’ lives nowadays, without technology, people will fall behind as we are now in the Information Age.
Those who have technology will continue to develop and grow where those who do not have will keep on falling behind. Shortening the digital gap is essential. Everybody should be given an opportunity to access to and experiment information technology no matter where they live or how much they earn. Many actions have been taken so far and they are getting closer to seal the digital divide. There are some negative outcomes of bridging the digital divide beside the many positives. However as the benefits outweigh the issues; bridging the digital divide is highly desirable.