Digital divide is the division of the world on the basis of information technology and communication. This is a term that defines the gap that has arisen between many societies and countries due to the absence of information technology. The technologies that come under the context of digital divide are television, telephones, mobile phones, computers and the internet.
There are many areas and nations in this world that do not have access to computers and the internet. They don’t have the resources to watch television. This has greatly impacted their economical growth.
The technological advancements of the 21st century have greatly helped in educational purposes and in making the people aware of their rights and limits. The people deprived of these extravagances are socially cut from the world and live in a world of their own with their own system. The first step in combating the digital divide is to learn about the causes that have led to this division. There are multiple causes and each one has to be dealt separately in order to succeed. The first main cause is the economic division.
This is a global cause and refers to the difference in economic status of different countries. There are many third world countries that still do not have the basic necessities of life. Their governments do not have the funds to provide for the proper survival of the citizens. In such a case, computers and internet are nothing but a dream. (Nielsen, 2006) The second cause is the usability division. This means that the technology is still so complicated, that a large percentage of the people do not know how to use it. The literacy rate in many countries is very low.
Also, about 40% of the world’s population is considered illiterate (Nielsen, 2006). Another major cause of the digital divide is the empowerment divide. This cause refers to all those people who have resources and knowledge, but still refuse to take advantage of the technological boom. Examples of such people are the senior citizens. The fear of the invasion of technology in their lives haunts them. In some cases, the governments do not want their citizens to have the access to the internet. This is due to their interest.
Most of the people are afraid to experiment with the given advanced options of the technological gadgets. In a study published in The Journal of Educational Research, there was a need to increase the numbers of computers in school. Instead of making computer labs, computers should be available in classrooms. The location and accessibility also created digital divide (Judge, Puckett, & Bell, 2006). The digital divide is present and ever expanding due to the differences in lives of people living in rural and urban areas, educational backgrounds, financial status, and racial discrimination.
The steps that have been taken to narrow he digital divide gap are credible. Many local and international programs have been initiated to limit the problem. ITU (International Telecommunication Union) has taken great measures and is working with global organizations to bridge the gap of digital divide. It has made a target of connecting all the countries of the world by the year 2015 (Connect The World, 2006). Other measures that have been taken globally are that tele-centers have been set up in a few developing countries to help in the development.
Connect Africa was started in October 2007. The United Nations have adopted the Millennium Declaration in which it is stated that technological benefits are to be enjoyed by everyone. Some local measures are that computers are being provided in schools for better awareness and better educational environments (Judge, Puckett, & Bell, 2006). Fibre optics is being installed in densely populated areas to fasten the internet connection, and special courses have been designed to educate people for the need of information technology knowledge.
Even though this issue has been addressed in various reliable occasions, it still is not accepted and recognized universally. It is also the center of criticism and people state that this hype has been created for the benefit of certain organizations. The people whom may benefit from digital divide may be the Information capital as it gains new market for the promotion of its products. Secondly the Southern countries which include the rich rulers of the world and the middle class’s quest for control.
Then the third category to benefit from digital divide may be the development community and lastly, the civil society that is ever ready to bring change in the world. (Luyt, 2004) There is a need to jointly address the causes and issues of digital divide as it concerns the whole planet. A common vision and information society is required. The developed and stable countries should come forward and help the struggling nations to remain in the race of global connectivity. The use of communication and IT is very important to grow economically for the nation as well as for individuals. Education is the only way to narrow the digital divide.