Digital Divide and Digital Bridge

The ability to access computers and the internet has become increasingly important to completely immerse oneself in the economic, political, and social aspects of not just America, but of the world. However, not everyone has access to this technology. The idea of the "digital divide" refers to the growing gap between the underprivileged members of society, especially the poor, rural, elderly, and handicapped portion of the population who do not have access to computers or the internet; and the wealthy, middle-class, and young Americans living in urban and suburban areas who have access.

Factors Attributing to the Digital Divide

The factors that influence the cause of digital divide include:

• Computer literacy: It is the ability of individuals to use computer and computer related technologies. Disparity in this ability leads to digital divide.

• Tech savvy operations: Individuals who are good at technology use have advantage towards those who does not use it efficiently .They save their time than those who are not good at using technology. For example using internet banking, ATM machine etc.

• Use of information: Information is received quickly by those individuals who are more prone to digital devices. This can be very well visualized between rural-urban communities. Urban people use information more frequently than the rural one.

• Working knowledge of English: Language barrier is one of the important causes of the digital divide. Most of the online/digital applications prefer English language. Many countries do not prefer English language. In fact they are not very used to English.

• Internet: Internet is necessity of the present time. People using internet have more advantage in terms of comfort and convenience in the lifestyle than those who do not use internet.

• Economic inequality: Economic inequality is the unequal distribution of income and opportunity between different groups in society. This inequality does not allow some people to buy digital devices frequently. Even education is also affected by economic conditions of a particular family.

• Social mobility: Social mobility is shifting from one social status to another, commonly to a status that is either higher or lower. If there is shifting from higher social status to lower, then there be a chance that families of lower status are less used to digital devices.

• Digital inequality: The disparities in knowledge and ability of using digital and information technology among individuals with different demographics, socioeconomic backgrounds, and digital and information technology experience and competencies.

• Low literacy rate: The literacy rate of some countries is relatively low in comparison to many developed countries of the world.

How can we bridge the digital divide?

As societies, we are faced with the hard question of ‘how do we bridge the digital divide?’ A menace which we should address as persons, communities, nations, and the world as a whole. Various initiatives we need to engage to narrow the digital gap under the various mentioned capacities include:

1. Increase digital literacy.
2. Provide operational incentives to information and communication technology entities.
3. Develop relevant and local content in addition telecommunications infrastructure.
4. Encourage the establishment of cyber clubs.
5. Establishment of workable partnerships between all information and communication technology stakeholders.
6. Promote innovations geared towards overcoming the digital divide.


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