The Digital Divide Social, Economic, Political in Nature By: L. Townsend, M. Parks, S. Stamadias
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.
Social • On a more domestic level within the United States- the most note worthy group disparity is between blacks and whites.
Information Technologyturning 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
Factors • 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 equally.
Economical Aspect • While the problem of the digital divide is certainly one with vast social implications, the economic aspect of this issue cannot be underestimated. • 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 economics
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 have-nots: • 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.
Cont….. • · 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 themselves
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:
Options • 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 world. • 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.
Cont……… • 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
Cont… • · 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 internet.
Cont…. • 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 infrastructure
(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.
Cont… 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 government. • · 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