HOW TO BRIDGE THE DIGITAL DIVIDE.

The term was first used in the late 20th century and was used to describe the gap between those who had cellphones and those who didn’t. 

What is Digital Divide?

     Talk about the digital divide and mention the gap existing between regions that have access to information communication technology and those that don’t. The digital divide revolves around developed and underdeveloped countries, developed and developing countries, urban and rural, and men and women.

      The biggest out of this all is the Urban-rural digital divide. In most countries, the rural areas are cut off entirely from the digital technology that the urban areas have access to. The one between men and women exists in some parts of the countries where the male folks are given more access to technology than their female counterparts.

     This is seen currently in the tech world where most people believe the tech industries are meant for the guys and not the ladies. But thanks to some organizations who are spearheading the women in the tech revolution.

     The digital divide was felt more during the covid pandemic. The effects were when working from home was quite difficult for some people. Some persons also had difficulty attending classes and lessons remotely.

Digital Divide

Types of Digital Divide

     Our society harbors different kinds of digital divide. But we will be looking at three types of the digital divide:

Gender Divide

     Despite the globalization of the world, the gender divide has posed to be a huge issue. Yes, a mobile connection has spread like a wildfire but most underdeveloped and developing countries fall under the gender divide. In the gender divide, men have more access to phones and computer-related gadgets. 

     This may sound absurd but truth be told, some countries still have such. In other terms, they have no regard for both the womenfolk and technology.

Social Divide

     The internet has given room for social relationships to be created amongst people with the same interests. Platforms like WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have made this possible. A divide exists when all the attention is on those who are socially active online. And the ones who don’t partake in the social world are sidelined.

Universal Access Divide

     When it comes to accessing the internet, a lot of people are at a disadvantage. Persons with one disability or the other may not have the full privileges that their counterpart enjoys. 

Causes of Digital Divide

Irrespective of the use of the telephone and the use of the internet across a huge span, the digital divide still exists. Some of the factors that contribute to the digital divide are

Expenses for Computer and Related Gadgets

     When it comes to mastering technology, some factors become a wedge. Paying for the internet is expensive. Coupled with purchasing the hardware such as computers, and tablets to make use of the internet. 

     Also, there are a lot of applications and websites that are being paid for. Not everyone has the means and resource to pay for these. financial constraints and the gap in income level is a contributor to the digital divide. 

Education

     College degree holders seem to be more fully into the technology of a thing than those who didn’t. they are perceived to be more likely to tap into the full potential of the internet and computers compared to individuals with lower education.

Geographical Restriction

     Geographical restrictions come in two ways: In-country and Out- country geographical restrictions. Out-country geographical restrictions exist between countries. Countries with rich economies have wide access to various kinds of technologies while countries that are less economically developed don’t. The undeveloped countries lack the necessary infrastructure to set up.

      In-country geographical restrictions come to play between the urban and rural parts of a country. The urban dwellers have more access to technology than those in rural areas.

Digital Literacy

     Students who attend schools with sufficient computers and learn the necessary digital skills have an upper advantage over students who are not exposed to technologies.

Consequences of Digital Divide

     Digital Divide comes with a lot of impact on the economy, social life, and education. Below are some of them:

Lack of Communication

     The covid 19 pandemic taught us this. A lot of persons weren’t reached out to on time to disseminate information due to this digital divide. Appointments were missed, and deadlines were missed all because of it. 

    Most times, reaching out to loved ones from the rural areas to urban areas can be quite hard. Imagine, from a rural area in a community to outside the shores of a country.

Barriers to Education

     Learnings and training now take place online. And only those with the resource can have access to them. Educational gaps get to be seen in kids as others can’t afford to get access to some of the online learnings. In most cases, children with access to technology may get better opportunities. 

Bridging Digital Divide

     Looking at the negative impacts the digital divide has brought, breaching the gap created by it is the best solution. But how best can we breach the divide?

     A lot of programs have been raised to reduce this digital divide to the hardest minimum. The majority of these programs are run by non-governmental bodies. These programs seek to educate the masses on technologies. And in some cases, provide a few of them with the Technologies. They also subsidize the expenses that come with these technologies. 

     A typical example is Starlink; which provides high-speed internet and global coverage at affordable prices. 

Some countries run digital literacy program which targets adults and children. Thereby impacting them with the necessary skills needed to breach the gap.

Conclusion

     Digital Divide may not entirely clear out. While we clear out the use divide and social divide, can we do that to the gender divide?

     It’s work that we all must get together to do. It’s not left to the government or social bodies. But this is a cause you and I will fight to ensure that we raise others like us; technological sound and efficient.

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