Take Away 3 and the Digital Divide Gap

Take Away#3

We discussed a growing gap between segments of the population, and their usage of the internet. When I arrived at home I started reading about The Digital Divide Gap.  A lot of this information focused on levels of usage around the world, but my concern focused on the nation level. How can we assist other nations if we cannot manage ourselves?

One of the first articles I found was a posted by NPR[1].  It discussed how certain minority groups seem to skip home internet and move onto mobile internet.  The article defines cost and convenience among the factors influencing this.

The studies by Pew[2] show a difference in race, but that difference is 12 percent in African Americans, and only 1 percent in the Hispanic population. If these two races bypassed home based internet usage, quantifiably how does this account for the wide differences described by Pew, especially in the Hispanic population?     

The Digital Divide Gap seems to be comprised of factors such as age, education, and income. It doesn’t necessary mean race.

But if this divide is among these factors then how do we fix it?

Does giving a lap top to everyone within a certain income bracket fix this problem? Does making the technology more available for everyone help? It feels like the answer is, yes and no.

This is my opinion: For those who want to use the technology, and see the rewards for doing so, then yes, making technology available to them does help.  Hotspots and Wi-Max may alleviate problems for them especially as we move into the mobile age of internet.

For those who do not see the social, or education rewards of the internet, then my opinion says no: they will not benefit from more readily available technology. There is a segment of the population that sees no rewards. It isn’t necessarily that they can’t afford a computer; they just don’t see the value in it. 

My opinion is admittedly based on segments of my own family, and friends.  I have friends that won’t quit emailing, and others who are just as smart, and just as well off financially, but they never use the internet. 

My friend A.J. says, “I don’t want to be out there [the internet] on that thing[a computer]. I don’t want to know those people, and if I didn’t talk to you in High-School then why should I talk to you now?” 

 

Only a

A.J. owns a company and he has since he was about 19 years old.  He sees the internet an invasion of privacy. 

He doesn’t see the social rewards, and despite the idea that his company owns a dozen computers, he refuses to read news online. He feels a computer is for business purposes, and the minute he puts a computer online, everyone has access to it.  Is he wrong?    

“I don’t want them knowing what I’m reading.  It is none of their business.” Says A.J.

Don’t ask AJ who “they” are, or you will be in for a long talk.  

My general opinion is to fix this divide people have to see the value of the internet, and receive its social rewards. On the other hand, I realize that playing around on the internet isn’t the same as educating yourself. I see playing as a slow stage to growing comfortable with a technology, then learning to use it.

But has this happened? I have to be honest with myself and say no. 

Perhaps there is just a segment of the population that will never care about news or most national events? 

Again, I see limited success in this approach. Who hatched first?  I can’t blame people for not caring about events, if they see no value. If we taught them the value, then wouldn’t they care?    

I’ve thought about this, and twisted myself around.  I realize I am just throwing out ideas. I would love to hear opinions, or disagreements. These are my thoughts, but this topic troubles me. I think of this problem in a wider prospective.  Where are we going? What can I do to help?

Hi, I’m me.

My name is Chris Reid.  I have enjoyed writing since second grade.  I completed my undergraduate degree at the University of Iowa in Psychology and English.  My work experience has been in working with high risk youth, and sales.  I am learning a lot about journalism, and enjoying coming back to the University of Iowa.  I love outdoors, trails, and seeing new places.  I am an adventurer at heart, and I feel that Journalism fits me quite well.  When my broken clavicle heals, I plan on mountain biking all over the beautiful trails that this area has provided.