The Digital Divide

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					            The Digital Divide

Social, Economic, Political in Nature

  By: L. Townsend, M. Parks, S.
                 Our Focus
   Our objective was to examine the effects of
    the digital divide on a societal, economic
    and political level and realize that there is a
    gap between the affluent who have access to
    internet resources and the less fortunate and
    the impact it has on both international and
    domestic affairs.
   On a more domestic level within the United
    States- the most note worthy group disparity
    is between blacks and whites.
          Information Technology
turning the “have nots” to permanent underclass

   The digital economy will compel employers
    to give preferential hiring treatment to those
    who have technology skills, thus
    diminishing the members of a certain social
    group the chance to compete for jobs

          Talk about studies
 Income and education
 Age
 Gender
 Household Structure

      Discuss studies and implications of these factors
The End of The Social Aspect
 Although the internet has proven to be a excellent
  source for information, however it has widened
  the gap between the “have nots” and the “haves”.
 This disparity of course is not just a black and
  white thing rather an issue that all minorities and
  those who are less fortunate experience.
 United States is a nation that is suppose to stand
  for equality, however there is no way that at the
  fast pace society is moving, those on the other side
  of the information rich will be able to compete
          Economical Aspect
 While the problem of the digital divide is
  certainly one with vast social implications,
  the economic aspect of this issue cannot be
 The economical level can be measures on
  different scales as well
    – Smaller scale
    – Larger scale
    Domestic and International
   The divide not only should be examined on
    a domestic level, but on an international
    level as well.
    – Domestic level- the first issue that is thought of
      is “the gap between those who have access to
      computers and information technology (IT) and
      those who do not”
    – The problem goes deeper- it is a problem of
    The digital divide effects both those in
    urban centers, and those in rural areas.

 One of the main issues with the digital divide is
  that not only does it hinder individuals from
  certain underprivileged groups from succeeding,
  but it can even make the situation for certain
  groups and even entire classes even worse.
 “many fear that the failure to address the gap will
  likely aggravate current levels of poverty and
  isolation and increase the already large gaps in
  education and access to opportunity between
  historically privileged and historically
  disenfranchised groups” (Servon, 419).
 Steps towards reform are being made to close
           the gap in the digital divide:

 In 1998, in the United States federal
 government launched a program that gave 2.2
 billion dollars in subsidies to public schools for
 the schools to get web and related
 communications technology
 Goal: to close the digital gap between poor and
 middle-class households by promoting computer
 and internet use among the poorer students
    It is the issue of have and
 The government must institute social and
  economic programs that expose those who are of
  less-affluent classes to technology, so they can
  become accustomed to it.
 Especially crucial at the elementary school level.
  In this way the future generations will have a
  much better chance of succeeding in the United
  States, or in most other countries as well
In general those with more money have the
technology, and those with less money do
not, be they individuals, groups, or the
whole lower class of a country.
There is a digital divide based on a larger
        scale: the international level
  Like the domestic divide, the
  international divide exists on the spectrum
  of have and have-nots.
 In the international arena, it involves entire
  countries, in particular, developing nations
  that do not possess the resources to keep
  pace technologically with the economic
  leaders of the world.
    These countries are in the mist of developing
    economically, as well as socially and politically.
    These three elements intertwine.
    – Political stability is needed in order for countries to
      regulate their economies properly. Without this
      stability, countries are most likely not going to be able
      to close the gap of the digital divide in reference to
A stabilized economy as well as a stable government is
necessary to create an efficient infrastructure for new
technologies, but once stable, there are options to take:
• One option: leapfrogging. This involves skipping
  certain generations of technology, in order to close
  some ground of the digital divide
      One example of this is the explosion of
      mobile phone technology in certain countries.

      Across much of Africa and Asia more people
      have access to phones than ever before, thanks
      to this technology.
The Digital Divide and Politics

 Politics is a crucial and dynamic part of human
  society that dictates and influences people’s lives.
 The Internet can serve as a forum of democracy
  and politics for the real world via the virtual
 Political groups or special interests groups such as
  the NRA and the NAACP, are examples of groups
  that use the Internet as a medium to express and
  share political values and interests that either need
  to be raised or further examined.
   Political groups or special interests groups such as
    the NRA and the NAACP, are examples of groups
    that use the Internet as a medium to express and
    share political values and interests that either need
    to be raised or further examined
    – Minor parties such as the Reform Party, the Libertarian
      Party and the Green Party find great success and
      support online, although these groups lack support from
      traditional forms of the media.
         A True Democracy?

 Advocates of online democracy firmly believe in
  the power and the influence the Internet is capable
  of having on US politics and democracy.
 The idea is that people share equal access to the
  power of sending and receiving a substantial
  amount of information, thus making online
  politics closer to a true democracy (Harper, 237).
 Nevertheless, if a digital divide is present within
  US politics and society, than online politics is far
  from a true democracy.
Example of the political digital divide:

 The Democratic and Republican parties gain more
  media attention as well as internet websites
  compared to their minor party counterparts.
 During the 2000 presidential campaign, the
  Democratic and Republican party websites ranked
  in the top 100,000 of websites, while the minor
  party websites ranked below the top 100,000
  except for the Libertarian party, which ranked in
  the top 100,000
    These three parties also have the most
    links for their parties available on the web;
    Democratic and Republican parties and
    candidate websites have from one and a half
    to six times as many links than their minor
    party competitors.
    Internet to solve political problems:
                Online Voting

 Electronic voting or e-voting, is a hopeful solution
  to the low voter turnout problem.
 There is much controversy and debate over the
  practice of voting online
    – The issue of online privacy and security
    – Social aspects of the digital divide: Voting online
      maybe convenient for those who have access to a
      computer or the Internet, but for those who do not have
      access to the Internet and are active citizens, e-voting
      will be a concern.
    – With online voting, a portion of the population will be
      unfairly disadvantaged, in particular people with lower
      incomes who cannot afford a computer or access to the
– With online voting, a portion of the population
  will be unfairly disadvantaged, in particular
  people with lower incomes who cannot afford a
  computer or access to the internet.
    The International Digital Divide

 For many, especially democratic nations,
  the Internet is viewed as a “democratizing”
  force to the rest of the world, lead by the
  influence of the United States.
 This influence is spread throughout the
  globe, especially to developing countries
  who are trying to gain a more technological
    (ICT) has been thought as an
effective way to bridge the digital gap
   These developing nations should be aware of what
    they are bargaining for.
    – ICT has been distributed to less developed nations in
      order to “digitalize” these nations public sector into one
      of “e-governance” (Wade, 448).
    – The state of Andhra Pradesh is the first in India to adopt
      the idea of e-governance. It established a statewide
      computerization system on all levels of the
      administration whose goal was to make access between
      government officials and citizens faster, easier and
      more equal.
Unfortunately, this system was not very
effective because it only aided on a small scale
for the price of the program came at a high
price. Computers were accessible to
government officials, but there were not
utilized to their advantage.
    Tanzania is another example of a country in which e-
     governance has been step in the reform of the local

    As one of the poorest nations in the world,
    donors have made computerization a way to
    monitor and evaluate local government’s service
    delivery as a way to keep costs down for other
    things such as paper, pencil, time and storage
    (Wade, 447).

    Once again, the infrastructure of the
    community made it difficult for such a program to
    flourish. In some portions of the country,
    electricity was not available, while in other parts,
    the effectiveness of electricity was unreliable

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