Modern life and technology are inseparable. A significant amount of credit for the progress mankind has made over the past decade can be attributed to the power of technology.
However, technology has also created a kind of gap between the tech-savvy and those who are not comfortable handling technology. This gap is called the digital divide. It may spur a different kind of rift, but the problem is not serious. All we need to do is work in tandem to bridge the digital divide and enjoy the benefits of a cyber-powered world more broadly.
Causes of Digital Divide
The digital divide happens because different people, groups, or regions have different access levels to digital technologies. This divide can happen even within a single community or household.
A lack of access to digital technologies can put people and communities at a position of disadvantage. They may miss the opportunity to get a better education or not have the platform to explore better employment opportunities.
With nearly every aspect of our life driven by technology, those who don’t strive to become tech-savvy will be the clear losers in a highly competitive world. It may also aggravate the existing economic and social disparities, thus forming a digitally illiterate class.
Reasons for Digital Divide
The digital divide can be like any other division in the different layers of society. Some of the key reasons for the digital divide are:
Those not adequately qualified may not find it as easy as those with the right qualifications to understand and apply the skills needed to leverage digital technologies. This can limit their capability to access information, communicate in the tech language, and take advantage of digital services.
Some educational institutions may not have the resources to provide digital technologies for all students. This can further widen the digital divide. Students without access to digital technologies at home will be disadvantaged while completing home assignments, conducting research, or preparing for future employment.
The process of addressing the digital divide must take into the educational inequality aspect. Steps need taken to provide the needy with resources and training to develop digital skills and minimize the digital divide.
The digital divide can be caused by income. Those with meager financial resources may not have access to technology and the Internet as their limited income may put devices such as a PC or smartphone out of their reach. They may also not have the finances to pay for internet charges or subscriptions that provide access to digital services and technology.
Not being technology savvy can limit their ability to search for jobs online, access educational resources, communicate with others, or participate in online activities that fuel growth and open up new opportunities.
With technology becoming an indispensable element of our daily life, ensuring everyone has equal access to the tools needed to succeed and minimize the digital divide is important.
Race And Culture
The digital divide can also be caused by culture and race can. Here, ethnicity refers to the marginalized and deprived community. Such communities may face numerous financial and social barriers that deny them access to technology.
Language barriers can significantly challenge non-native speakers in understanding and navigating technology and other related online resources. Some cultural norms may dissuade the use of technology, especially the community elders, because of their inexperience with the outside world and inability to move with time.
Racial disparities in income and education can also create a digital divide as it can impact how they access technology and the internet. People of color, particularly those from low-income backgrounds, may face financial barriers while investing in technology or subscribing to Internet services. They may also have limited educational opportunities that could provide them with the skills and knowledge needed to use technology effectively.
How to Mitigate Digital Divide and Its Societal Impact
The digital divide transcends social or political problems. It can be reduced when social, economic, and political forces work together.
Role of the Government
The United Nations says governments can minimize the digital divide gap by reducing the cost of devices, internet services, and taxes. Schools and colleges must have the resources to strengthen their technology platforms. Businesses are doing their bit to close the gap by supporting technological efficiency in education.
Educational institutions must work in collaboration with governments and introduce curriculums that are technologically interesting and informative. The faculty members must have excellent tech knowledge to share the same with their children. Digital resources to uplift education standards.
Role of Teachers
Schools can host workshops and training programs regularly to provide high-tech technical training to teachers. Teachers must be adept at handling advanced e-learning tools and digital learning techniques.
Undoubtedly, the digital divide is a huge setback for any modern society. Technology discrimination can make it challenging for resourceful people to build successful and thriving careers.
The role of governments and social organizations is critical to help bridge the digital divide gap. Academicians and tech inventors must collaborate to create powerful, user-friendly learning resources to reach every student.
Bridging the digital divide gap is an ongoing effort. If everyone takes responsibility for digitalization, it will not be long before everyone has equal digital access across the world.