13 June 2016
Shauna Hanna - Texthelp
Can we really close the Digital Divide?
For anyone whose professional success hinges on the internet, it is easy to be in complete awe at the wonders of our digital age. Because of the internet, many industries have emerged or changed for the better.
Today, many people have jobs that simply did not exist a few years ago. Yet, with all this progress and change, it can be easy to ignore the fact that a prevalent barrier still exists. From the most switched on countries such as Sweden, to the poorest nations in Africa, there is a widening gap between those with access to modern technology and the Internet and those without.
For many of us, it has become the everyday norm. We wake up in the morning and before we even get out of bed, we check our Twitter feed, we go to work and spend all day communicating through digital means. We get home at night and respond to our Facebook messages, we Instagram our holidays, our kids and our meals at all opportunities in between.
And it’s not just for fun and entertainment. Businesses and government agencies are urging us to pay our bills, manage our accounts and access their information online.
It may seem incredible to think, but back in 2000, there were a mere 394 million Internet users scattered across the world. Fast forward and that number has grown to almost 3 billion – that’s nearly 40 percent of all people on Earth. The majority of these in East Asia (41 percent), followed by Europe (26 percent) and North America (14 percent). (Source: Forbes)
In many countries, digital literacy is becoming just as important as reading and writing. In centuries past, people communicated through letters and telegrams. This has moved on to smartphones, internet, emails, text messages and the use of group mobile messaging apps. Today's youth learn these skills as part of their lives, they learn without realising they are learning it.
Even though all these things, coupled with the increasing desire to learn more are helping to close this divide, there will always be one significant barrier.
There are some people, especially the older generations, who will never grasp the concept of the internet or computers. They have lived their whole lives without it, and have no desire to learn either.
This of course will become less frequent in the future as almost everyone is growing up with technology these days. But there will always be a few who do not want to rely upon technology and never will. This, and the fact that it will take many years to get the cost of computers and internet to a price where it is accessible to all people, are just two reasons why there is a huge digital divide and will be for many more years to come.