Part 3 digital inequality and digital divide

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Information about Part 3 digital inequality and digital divide

Published on March 10, 2014

Author: mprieler


Professor: Michael Prieler, Ph.D. Office: Dasan Hall, 5th Floor (Room 507) Tel.: 033-248-1938 1


DISCUSSION What is digital inequality and digital divide? 3

DISCUSSION What do you think are reasons for digital inequality and digital divide? 4

Digital Inequality Digital inequality is another manifestation of the other inequalities that exist with our contemporary society. Class, income, ethnicity, gender, rural/urban play a major role. On a global scale, differences between developed countries and developing countries. 5

Digital Inequality Vicious Circle of Inequality:  Categorical inequalities in society produce an unequal distribution of resources.  An unequal distribution of resources causes unequal access to digital technologies.  Unequal access to digital technologies brings about unequal participation in society.  Unequal participation in society reinforces categorical and unequal distribution of resources. 6

Digital Inequality Among digital inequalities, the most important factors are:  Position in the labor market: involving income, and access to ICTs at work.  Education: which has been profoundly affected by the influx of computers and internet into classroom in the 1990s, helping older generation to gain access if they have school-age children.  Household Composition: households with children tend to have the highest rates of access.  Residence in a particular nation or part of it: which involves the availability of technology, general levels of literacy, language skills (especially English), level of democracy, information society policies and a culture that is receptive or not to new technology. 7

Digital Divide Many ways to define the digital divide. The gap between those who do and those who do not have access to computers and the internet (Van Dijk, 2005). However, such imposed binary oppositions do little to describe the real-life situation of people. There are fast, reliable, up to date computers, and there are slow, antiquated ones. 8

Digital Divide Projects in New Delhi, India, which aimed to provide computer access to slum areas for the benefit of local children. Several computer booths were set up in public areas with free access for children to the internet. However, with little content in Hindi (the only language the children knew) available to the children at the time and, with little motivation given to the children to use the technology for academic or cultural pursuits, they began to use the booths as games terminals and for drawing. This impacted negatively on school work. 9

Digital Divide This and other samples demonstrate that merely dropping in technology is not the answer, but that an appropriate social context must exist as well. People need the skills, motivation and awareness of why a particular technology and its use might be beneficial to them in order to gain real and meaningful benefits. 10

DISCUSSION What is your motivation for the use of the internet and new technologies? 11

Global Digital Divide The main worry is that developed industrialized nations take full advantage of the information age, while developing countries are not. In that sense, information and technology maybe yet another way in which wealthy, industrialized countries can further enhance their already elevated position over developing nations, leading to further disparities between rich and poor nations, and even further imbalances of power. 12

Global Digital Divide However, information is especially important for developing countries:  Access to information such as education, health, pricing and even weather prediction for rural communities, since there is little organized distribution of such information to the general public.  A lack of an efficient communication infrastructure means that most developing nations have a difficult time in communicating, organizing and working together to solve common problems.  It becomes very difficult to implement public works projects, utilize the human resources of a nation, or organize responses to natural and society disasters. Problem for economic development! 13

Global Digital Divide Many developing nations never had the resources to create a fixed line telecommunications infrastructure, which is a massive undertaking in terms of cost, logistics and maintenance. Indeed, many inhabitants of Africa have never made a fixed line phone call. In Chad has only 0.13 have fixed phone lines and only 0.6 internet users for every 100 inhabitants – while it has 8.52 mobile subscribers per hundred, and 24 per cent of the population is covered by a mobile signal. If one considered the amount of the people who share mobile phones in Africa, the user rate is likely to be much higher than the subscriber rate. 14

Global Digital Divide: Landlines 15

Global Digital Divide Worldwide, as of 2007, there were 3.3 billion mobile phone subscribers, representing roughly 50 percent of the world’s population and 80 percent of the world’s population has access to mobile phone coverage. Mobile telecoms seem to be the way forward for the developing world. 16

ACTIVITY Search what is the current worldwide number of mobile phone users. Search which countries have many users and which countries have few users. 17

Why Mobile Phones? Economic reasons:  Mobile telephony has lower installation costs, thus making it more immediately profitable for companies to invest in the infrastructure.  Mobile infrastructure is more adaptable to geographic hinterlands, making it more cost effectively to provide access to remote or geographically challenging areas.  The variety of business model innovations surrounding mobile phones, such as prepaid SIM card arrangements complements the diverse economic situations of people in the developing world. 18

Why Mobile Phones? Social reasons:  Lower social and income entry barriers for use and purchase are two major reasons why mobile phones have spread.  Mobile can be purchased for low up-front costs in a variety of models that lowers the entry barrier for those on low incomes.  A lower level of skills is needed to operate a mobile phone as compared to the skills needed to effectively engage computers and the internet.  Their popularity has made them more desirable and necessary. As more people purchase them, it becomes more socially and economically necessary for those who don’t have phones to obtain them. 19

Why Mobile Phones? Legislative reasons: Governments have put obligations on companies to expand mobile phones infrastructure to certain minimum requirements as part of their ‘Rollout’ obligations for telecommunications licenses. Second, unlike many land-line sources that are operated on the basis of nation monopolies, mobile service are in a fully competitive environment. More competition suggests lower prices for the consumer. 20

Benefits of Mobile Phones? The development of mobile infrastructure will allow developing nations to jump over the fixed line stage of infrastructural development and allow developing nations to catch up to industrialized countries more quickly by avoiding an expensive and arduous stage in infrastructural development. Mobile phones are empowering to farmers, fishermen and other people who produce market goods, in that it increases their knowledge of market prices in different locations, allowing to them achieve a maximum price for what they have to sell. Interpersonal connections to friends and family, particularly when it comes to migrant populations. 21

ASSIGNMENT Search what benefits mobile phones have in developing countries. Post your findings in Facebook. This can be a short summary of a text, a video, etc. Deadline: Tomorrow 22

Internet World Map, 2007 IP-Addresses 55.9% North America, 21.5% Europe, 14.0% Asia 23

Global Internet 24

Global Internet Users 25

Global Internet 26

Global Internet 27

ACTIVITY Search what is the current internet rate in South Korea? 28

Global Internet 29

Global Internet On average only about 24.7 of the world’s population use the internet. Percentage of growth (2000-2009): In North America, we see growth of 132.9% and in Africa and the Middle East we see a growth of 1,360%! 30

Global Internet World Regions Population ( 2012 Est.) Internet Users Internet Users Dec. 31, 2000 Latest Data Penetration (% Population) Growth 2000-2012 Africa 1,073,380,925 4,514,400 167,335,676 15.6 % 3,606.7 % Asia 3,922,066,987 114,304,000 1,076,681,059 27.5 % 841.9 % Europe 820,918,446 105,096,093 518,512,109 63.2 % 393.4 % Middle East 223,608,203 3,284,800 90,000,455 40.2 % 2,639.9 % North America 348,280,154 108,096,800 273,785,413 78.6 % 153.3 % Latin America / Caribbean 593,688,638 18,068,919 254,915,745 42.9 % 1,310.8 % Oceania / Australia 35,903,569 7,620,480 24,287,919 67.6 % 218.7 % 31

Digital Inequality Digital inequality can be seen across five dimensions: ● Technical means (the actual artefacts but also level of connectivity). ● Autonomy of use (do people actually own these artefacts and access to them or do they have access at work, school, public, library etc.?) ● Use patterns (how do people actually use the new media). ● Social support networks (the extent to which other people around us use the new media and are able to help us). ● Skill (the extent to which we are able to use the new media). 32

Age and New Media Use Findings from countries as different as the United States and Cyprus reveal that the older are the less likely to use of the internet and other new media. 33

Age and New Media Use 34

ACTIVITY Can you find data on age differences of internet users in Korea? 35

Age and New Media Use Difference between net natives and those who were introduced to the new media at a later stage in their lives. Younger users: instant messaging and social networking sites, not much email to keep in touch with contacts. Entertainment purposes, downloading music, sharing videos, gaming etc. Older users: use the internet in an instrumental way, as a tool for shopping, banking, getting information. May be the result of different needs at different life stages, but also the degree of familiarity of different generations with new technologies. 36

Age and New Media Use Younger users: instant messaging and social networking sites, not much email to keep in touch with contacts. Entertainment purposes, downloading music, sharing videos, gaming etc. Older users: use the internet in an instrumental way, as a tool for shopping, banking, getting information. DISCUSSION IN WHICH GROUP DO YOU FIT? 37

Gender and New Media Use Men use the internet for recreation more than women, they look for more kinds of information compared to women, they are more likely to use it for banking, and are more interested in technology. Women are more likely to use email to communicate friends and family and in general to personal relationships in online contexts. 38

DISCUSSION How do you relate to these gender differences? What is your own experience? 39

Gender and New Media Use 40

Race/Ethnicity and New Media Use Differences in the internet usage of African American and Hispanics in the United States. 41


Income 43

Education Level 44

Children and New Media Use The more education the parents have received, the longer the children’s use of IT. Similarly, children of those with higher income were using new media for longer. Children of cohabiting couples played less video games, and those of employed parents used mobile telephones more frequently. In terms of academic performance, the children who used computers for long had higher grades than those who had used them for a shorter period. On the other hand, children who played more video games had lower grades than those who played less. Mobile telephones did not seem to affect academic performance. 45

Internet Access at Home 46

Internet Connection Types 47

Reasons for NOT going online 48


Minute Paper Most interesting? Least interesting? Most unclear? Most important? Others? 50


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