Have you ever noticed some places that do not have that much access to technology and the internet? You might have also seen some individuals who have no idea what the internet is, regardless of today’s modern age and progress.
People in far-out locations still use traditional means to communicate, such as visiting friends and family by being there physically. It might sound like another episode of a Netflix post-apocalyptic series where there is no more internet and electricity.
However, it is more than science fiction and La-La Land magic. It is something that happens in the real world. This scenario is the concept of the digital divide.
Some sources state that the digital divide stands as a type of separation. This gap involves individuals, organizations, locations, and entities that have access to the internet, computers, gadgets, and other technologies and those that do not.
That means you might have all the technology and modern systems that make life faster, better, and more efficient. Other people in places do not even know the existence of social media, video games, gadgets, and the internet.
The digital divide does not limit to technology and modern systems, and it also encompasses an individual’s lack of financial assets to purchase and rent these commodities. It also involves a person’s skills that allow them to utilize modern applications, devices, etc.
The Types Of Digital Divide
Mentioning the digital divide might splash your conversation with pals into a debate. Putting it as one term alone is not an easy task, and we can separate the concept of the digital divide into different types.
People need to face challenges and other issues before accessing technology and modern tools. A country’s socio-economic differences contribute that much to this type of digital divide. That is due to the fact that utilizing modern tools and technology requires finance and additional resources.
You need a lot of money to digitize a specific place or region. That, in turn, also requires more resources and infrastructure before you can accomplish it.
Handling modern technology and applications requires skill and information. This type of divide happens to individuals who do not have the necessary skills and know-how to operate these systems and technologies.
More and more countries have inhabitants who do not have information regarding new technological systems and devices. A percentage of the population might still know how to run a computer’s basic operations.
But they do not know how to attach a file to an email. Such a similar problem is uploading a photo to an online platform.
This type of divide also involves a generation difference. People from older groups have less knowledge regarding smartphones, computers, etc. It comes as a challenge to teach them about a concept many consider alien or foreign.
But the neat part is people from many age groups are becoming adaptable to the changes in everyday technology. Many are showing interest and passion in learning about these methods and systems.
A portion of the population might have the skills and information to utilize phones and computers. But that does not mean they have what it takes to make the most of these technologies.
Many people are content to open their social media accounts, watch YouTube videos, and play online games. Nothing is wrong with such a manner of living. However, they are missing out on other features the internet has to offer.
Such an issue is becoming more and more challenging to resolve. It takes resources to lecture people from varying backgrounds, cultures, and educational prowess.
The learning curve also affects teaching. You might find it stressful to teach someone about computer programs and how to install them when the individual has learning difficulties.
The Effects Of The Digital Divide
Perhaps the worst effect of the digital divide is the lack of communication between people, businesses, organizations, and other institutions. This aspect affects the people living in rural areas where internet services are but a myth.
They are not receiving the service and means to learn more things and generate profit. Disconnection also leads to isolation.
We have seen what the recent COVID-19 pandemic has done to businesses, industries, and people. The threat has caused disconnection and isolation for more than a year. People have become isolated from the outside world due to the pandemic.
As a result, they have lost numerous opportunities to make a profit for daily needs and other expenses. They have missed countless chances to socialize with friends and family.
Many people who use phones and computers can still do so. But it paints a different picture for those with no such access and amenities.
Another crippling consequence is the challenges to education. Most of today’s learning tools and facilities utilize digital media and online platforms. It becomes harder and harder for students in far-out areas to gain knowledge for their future career paths since internet access proves hard to come by in their location.
This lack of internet connection and digital accommodation also affects adults in such areas. They miss out on career opportunities that might aid them in providing for their families.
As more people suffer from digital illiteracy, institutions might not provide these individuals with quality employment. These organizations and businesses require people with basic educational backgrounds. But they need digital capabilities and skills as well.
It snowballs from there. To have fewer workers in a specific field means fewer goods to produce and services to offer. Institutions and companies have no chi professionals from different countries to do the tasks and projects.
They do not want to spend money and time to locate and train people for the projects ahead. Since hiring a digital assistant proves to be the cheaper option. Freelance workers are their ideal alternative.
The digital divide contributes to gender inequality. The aspect affects a portion of women more than men. A stereotype that the female population cannot handle technical tasks affects women’s rights and opportunities for growth.
Some groups and organizations believe that men can handle tech-related tasks. The same goes for utilizing new technologies better and more efficiently.
Bridging The Digital Divide
With the rise of better and more efficient technology comes solutions to handle such an issue.
The first method is to improve digital literacy campaigns and programs. Governments and authorities should create programs that will aid people from all backgrounds. They have to prioritize the people and locations far from urban areas.
Producing these campaigns requires organization and resources from numerous affiliates. However, the aspect becomes easier to accomplish since many requirements are present, and organizations are willing to participate.
Next is the prospect of better affordability. Obtaining many digital amenities and the internet is another issue for some due to higher costs. They do not have additional funds to purchase or rent these technologies and systems. They are busy working to pay bills and food needs.
A standard smartphone costs at least thirty to fifty dollars. Meanwhile, a laptop or desktop computer costs triple or quadruple that price. In addition, tax, transportation, and electricity contribute to this overall cost.
Financial services and deals can help people who do not earn that much money to obtain such technology and gadgets.
Another alternative to financial assistance is government subsidies on computers, phones, etc. This move will encourage more and more people to look at and obtain such digital peripherals.
Internet providers and companies must provide decent internet service at a fair cost. Many companies have a knack for reducing internet performance for many users without them knowing it. Providing the appropriate internet access and bandwidth helps in the process.
It does not stop there. It is time to empower and educate the masses once they have the tools and gadgets. Agencies can now connect people to online learning platforms. Teaching students will become faster and more efficient, and they can learn additional information from the safety of their homes.
The more companies and organizations can develop better and more relevant internet content. They can create and improve online services, content, goods and products, and applications.
Furthermore, this aspect allows them to bring to life all this content and services in a location’s primary language. Setting programs and applications in a primary language lets people understand and learn faster not, like before.
Besides all of these, one more point stands out in bridging the digital divide. Companies, agencies, and individuals can help put an end to gender discrimination against women. Studies show that men are more active online than women.
The solution rests with the government and non-government agencies to stand united to solve this issue. These agencies and institutions can also band to address other matters, such as poverty, corruption, and lack of public awareness and involvement.
Bridging One Step At A Time
It might sound as if you alone cannot contribute to solving the problem of the digital divide. While government agencies, institutions, and other organizations can go above and beyond, you can make a change.
The first thing you can do is to assist individuals and students who have a challenging time with modern facilities. That does not mean you have to spend cash to purchase goods and gadgets for them. The mere act of teaching someone how to attach a file to an email goes a long way.
You can also contribute to support groups and other agencies by sharing some time with their cause.
There is also the option of trying out new gadgets and applications. You can integrate the new things you learn into the existing technology and systems and share the experience with others. This action teaches them one new thing each time you do so.
Doing all of these actions is a noble thing to do. Not only do you help make people connect more with the digital platform. You also contribute to the effectiveness and flow of all things digital.
To Make Things Sweet And Short
The digital divide is one more thing we have to overcome. It is an issue that evolves as new technologies grow and develop. The more people and places are left behind, the more effort and resources it takes to help bring them in line. It appears the problem will take some time to eliminate.
But you can be part of the solution rather than the problem. You don’t have to do much to make the world digital divide-free, one small step at a time. The tools and applications are at your disposal.
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