Digital Divide - Essay Example

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The term 'digital divide' appears as a concern of eminent importance in the context of an information society. The widening gap between the richest and poorest nations across the globe, now also encompasses the access or non-access to knowledge and information in different parts of the world…
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Digital Divide
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Download file to see previous pages It also highlights the major issues confronting these underdeveloped nations and the current developments thereof in the pursuit of creating an information society.
The rapid dispersion of information and communication technologies is gradually transforming the world into an information society that is unbounded in terms of access to knowledge and communication facilities. In this regard, it is very crucial for any country to provide its people with the required knowledge and make possible an equal access to information and communication technologies so as to take an active part in the information revolution. The most significant concern within this perspective is the prevailing discrepancy as to the availability, access and usage of technology around the world, which deprives human being of their ultimate right to knowledge. Cullen (2001, p311) illuminates that, "the 'digital divide' has become a convenient metaphor to describe the perceived disadvantage of those who either are unable or do not choose to make use of these technologies in their daily life".
This information poverty existing among and even within countries tends to be the most serious concern for today's information society. The world is diverse with regard to geographical, cultural, economic and social patterns. Selwyn (2004, p355) elaborates that, "many of the differences that the digital divide pertains towards can be traced back to clear differentiation in the technological capital i.e. fundamental differences in the cultural, economic and social resources that individuals and communities can command when engaging with technology". Hence, all these aspects happen to play a distinct role in the dispersion and availability of knowledge and technology in different parts of the world. The most eminent of the 'digital divide' remains to be the one that exists between the developed and underdeveloped countries characterised by a wide gap in all these 'socio-economic' aspects.
Selwyn (2004, p345) connote that, "the digital divide is a marked feature of any information society". The digital divide across the globe occurs due to the "socio-economic, technological and linguistic" discrepancies prevailing among nations and societies. Also, the differences vis--vis the education and skills required to avail the information technology mark a wide range of global inequality. The knowledge of English language in several parts of the world is also considered crucial for being able to use the Internet. In this context, there happen to be significant variation concerning Internet usage and information access between developed and underdeveloped countries of the world. For instance, the rate of Internet access in Italy is the lowermost as compared to any other country in the developed world; however, it is still much higher than that of some developing countries such as China (Chen and Wellman, 2004).
The Information Society And Third World Countries
Third world countries, especially the least developed ones, have highly restrained access to the information technology. Ogunsola and Okusaga (2006, p349) says that, "in many parts of the developing countries ICT is available only on a very limited scale, and this raises doubts about developing countries' ability to participate in the current ICT-induced global knowledge economy". These countries mostly falling under the domains of Africa, South ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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