Closing the Gap on the Digital Divide

Information poverty and the stigma that surrounds the use of technology is a product of the digital divide. The digital divide expresses the gap between those who not only have Internet and those who do not, but also even extends to the quality of the Internet speed, access to information and the ability to learn or use skills of new media technology. According to Hargittai, “digital inequality better captures inequalities relevant the differences in availability and use of information technologies. Digital inequality has five different dimensions such as, the technology used to access the Internet, location of access, social support networks, the types of uses to which one puts the medium, and media and technology literacy”.

While the gap of the digital divide is studied, the onus and solution is significance to close the gap between “the haves” and the “have-nots” of the digital age.

However, the first question that should be answered in determining a solution is who is to be held responsible in finding a way to mend the divide. A Cornell Survey Research Institute stated that depending on political views the onus varied by conservatives wanting enterprises and businesses to be held responsible, while liberals preferred the government to find a solution. To achieve a solution there must be a combination of both parties working together to increase Internet access and usage to bring the gap to a close. For example, governments could fund schools to buy new computer labs or fund classes that teach important skills.

The second question that should be answered when determining a solution to the digital divide is finding methods that give results to bridge the gap. As stated previously, educational practices and funding through schools can be a way to close the gap for students. However, education should not extend just to the digital native, the old, rich and poor must also be educated. On a global level changing legislation to help others get a better understanding of technology. The solution must come at a global level if society is to solve its far-reaching socio-economical divide, it must be a collective effort that treats media literacy as important as charity.

Work Cited:

Hargittai, E. (2001). Second-Level Digital Divide: Mapping Differences in People’s Online Skills. Retrieved from http://arxiv.org/pdf/cs/0109068.pdf

Hulegaard, D. (2015). The Digital Divide: What Works and What Doesn’t. The Digital Divide, Causes and Solutions. Retrieved from: http://www.academia.edu/6642754/The_Digital_Divide_Causes_and_Solutions

Lingel, J. (2012). “Keeping it Safe”: Information Poverty, Information Norms and Stigma. Journal of the Society for Information Science and Technology 64(5).Retrieved from http://www.danah.org/papers/2012/EBM-InfoPoverty.pdf

Prensky, M. (2001). Do They Really Think Differently?. On the Horizon 9(5). Retrieved from http://www.marcprensky.com/writing/Prensky%20-%20Digital%20Natives,%20Digital%20Immigrants%20-%20Part1.pdf

Prensky, M. (2001). Do They Really Think Differently?. On the Horizon 9(6). Retrieved from http://www.marcprensky.com/writing/Prensky%20-%20Digital%20Natives,%20Digital%20Immigrants%20-%20Part2.pdf

Selwyn, N. (2004). Reconsidering Political and Popular Understanding of the Digital Divide. New Media and Society 6 (3). Retrieved from http://www.hkucourses.com/cybersocieties/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/2004-reconsidering-political-popular-understandings-of-the-digital-divide1.pdf

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