Prior to undertaking UOSM2008, I was completely unaware of the mass inequality and difference that shrouds the internet. Last week I began by understanding the division through generations:
However through my research this week, there is increasing evidence to suggest other variations to how we perceive, interact and experience our digital lives.
This new form of inequality, is referred to as ‘The Digital Divide’. van Djik, (2013) describes four types of inequalities and the four areas of unequally divided property these inequalities have:
Digital differences, refer to how your offline, social characteristics, affect your place on the web, and can either advance or prevent you from accessing the web.
This is a debate taken by Robinson (2015), who states that when access to the web is difficult, it can be detrimental to an individual. To the extent where Robinson (2015) believes that it should take its place alongside traditional forms of inequality such as race, class and gender.
The ‘digital footprint gap’ (Robinson 2015) is creating such massive inequalities because of what internet provides us with, mass resources. These include, news on events (Natural disasters etc,) Business and job opportunity, education and information resources, access to family and sociability.
Interestingly, I previously came across this TED talks youtube video in first year when trying to research what % of the population doesn’t have access to the internet, and perfectly describes what a digital divide can have on an individual:
I have entered the digital footprint gap (Robinson, 2015) on the very fortunate side, I have always had access to the internet, new technology and devices, so have been able to use it for educational and job opportunities. However, looking back, I was never aware of the impact it had on a population who was not able to access it so freely.
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Reconsidering Political and Popular Understandings of the Digital Divide by Neil Selwyn:
Inequalities in the Network Society by Jan A. G. M. van Dijk