The digital divide is defined by Oxford Dictionaries as, “The gulf between those who have ready access to computers and the Internet, and those who do not.” There are several factors which attribute to the digital divide, including economic, political, education and social aspects (Stanford, n.d., para. 3). Elderly and handicapped members of society, as well as people located in rural or low-socioeconomic areas often do not have access to a computer or the internet. In contrast, the majority of educated, middle to wealthy class citizens living in suburbia do (Servon, 2002). The digital divide is simplistically depicted in my infographic below.
While the majority of information and data featured in the graphs and writings in the infographic are immediately forthcoming, the image depicting a modern-man with a computer and a cave man banging a stick on a log, for me, best reveals one of the most serious issues caused by the digital divide. While digital technology is helping to propel the developed world towards a connected and knowledge based society, a lack of internet access, money or both is causing the developing world to fall behind. (Servon, 2002) notes: “…the digital divide is, therefore, a symptom of a much larger and more complex problem– the problem of persistent poverty and inequality.” Stanford University (n.d., para. 4) adds: “…on the one hand, sections of society already connected – such as higher income, educated White and Asian Pacific Islander households – are adopting newer technologies faster and are connecting even more. On the other, groups with traditionally lower rates for Internet and computer usage continue to lag far behind. Unfortunately, according to a study conducted by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), entitled Falling Through the Net: Defining the Digital Divide, the gap is widening along already strained economic and racial lines.”
Adelaide Now. (2011). 296942-computer-locked-up [Image]. Retrieved from http://www.news.com.au/national/indigenous-digital-divide-widening-due-to-wrong-education-says-expert-lester-irabinna-rigney/story-e6frfkp9-1226111298984
Australian Human Rights Commission (2013). rightstalk-access-denied [Image]. Retrieved from http://www.humanrights.gov.au/news/stories/digital-divide
Midlas. (2014). tumblr_inline_mxy0743VQM1r19fxu [Image]. Retrieved from http://midlas.tumblr.com/post/70277391726/the-digital-divide
Servon, L.J. (2002). Bridging the Digital Divide Technology, Community, and Public Policy. Melbourne, VIC: Blackwell Publishing.
Stanford University. (n.d.). Digital Divide. Retrieved from http://cs.stanford.edu/people/eroberts/cs201/projects/digital-divide/start.html