There is widespread concern that the Internet is exacerbating inequalities between the information rich and poor.
The emergence of the Internet as a world wide web in the late 1990s made access to information and knowledge significantly easier. Soon after the Internet started reaching the masses, concerns about its unequal distribution appeared. The digital divide that is manifested in access and usage differences between individuals, groups, regions and even countries is created between those who have access to information and communication technologies and know how to utilise them, and those who do not. Empirical studies supply strong evidence that many of those who are digitally excluded are also socially excluded, i.e., digital inequality is strongly related to economic and social stratification. Specifically, empirical studies have examined the digital divide as reflected in gaps in digital access, digital literacy, digital competence, digital, Internet and computer skills, attitudes towards computer and Internet and digital uses between different population groups. This book further reviews the issues, recommendations and new research on the digital divide.
Going beyond the oversimplified notion of a "digital divide" to analyze the relationship between access to information and communication technologies and social inclusion.
This definitive work on the perils and promise of the social- media revolution collects writings by today's best thinkers and cultural commentators, with an all-new introduction by Bauerlein. Twitter, Facebook, e-publishing, blogs, distance-learning and other social media raise some of the most divisive cultural questions of our time. Some see the technological breakthroughs we live with as hopeful and democratic new steps in education, information gathering, and human progress. But others are deeply concerned by the eroding of civility online, declining reading habits, withering attention spans, and the treacherous effects of 24/7 peer pressure on our young. With The Dumbest Generation, Mark Bauerlein emerged as the foremost voice against the development of an overwhelming digital social culture. But The Digital Divide doesn't take sides. Framing the discussion so that leading voices from across the spectrum, supporters and detractors alike, have the opportunity to weigh in on the profound issues raised by the new media-from questions of reading skills and attention span, to cyber-bullying and the digital playground- Bauerlein's new book takes the debate to a higher ground. The book includes essays by Steven Johnson, Nicholas Carr, Don Tapscott, Douglas Rushkoff, Maggie Jackson, Clay Shirky, Todd Gitlin, and many more. Though these pieces have been previously published, the organization of The Digital Divide gives them freshness and new relevancy, making them part of a single document readers can use to truly get a handle on online privacy, the perils of a plugged-in childhood, and other technology-related hot topics. Rather than dividing the book into "pro" and "con" sections, the essays are arranged by subject-"The Brain, the Senses," "Learning in and out of the Classroom," "Social and Personal Life," "The Millennials," "The Fate of Culture," and "The Human (and Political) Impact." Bauerlein incorporates a short headnote and a capsule bio about each contributor, as well as relevant contextual information about the source of the selection. Bauerlein also provides a new introduction that traces the development of the debate, from the initial Digital Age zeal, to a wave of skepticism, and to a third stage of reflection that wavers between criticism and endorsement. Enthusiasms for the Digital Age has cooled with the passage of time and the piling up of real-life examples that prove the risks of an online-focused culture. However, there is still much debate, comprising thousands of commentaries and hundreds of books, about how these technologies are rewriting our futures. Now, with this timely and definitive volume, readers can finally cut through the clamor, read the the very best writings from each side of The Digital Divide, and make more informed decisions about the presence and place of technology in their lives.
Contrary to optimistic visions of a free internet for all, the problem of the ‘digital divide’ – the disparity between those with access to internet technology and those without – has persisted for close to twenty-five years. In this textbook, Jan van Dijk considers the state of digital inequality and what we can do to tackle it. Through an accessible framework based on empirical research, he explores the motivations and challenges of seeking access and the development of requisite digital skills. He addresses key questions such as: Does digital inequality reduce or reinforce existing, traditional inequalities? Does it create new, previously unknown social inequalities? While digital inequality affects all aspects of society and the problem is here to stay, Van Dijk outlines policies we can put in place to mitigate it. The Digital Divide is required reading for students and scholars of media, communication, sociology, and related disciplines, as well as for policymakers.
Beneficial to scholars and students in the fields of media and communication, politics and technology, this book outlines the significant role of search engines in general and Google in particular in widening the digital divide between individuals, organisations and states. It uses innovative methods and research approaches to assess and illustrate the digital divide by comparing the popular search queries in Google and Yahoo in different countries as well as analysing the various biases in Google News and Google Earth. The different studies developed and presented in this book provide various indications of the increasing customisation and popularisation mechanisms employed by popular search engines, which together with “organising the world’s information inevitably also intensify information inequalities and reinforce commercial and US-centric priorities and agendas. Develops an extensive historical investigation of information, power and the digital divide Provides new social and political perspectives to understand search engines in general and Google in particular Suggests original methods to study and assess the digital divide as well as the extent of commercialisation and Americanisation worldwide
This book provides an in-depth comparative analysis of inequality and the stratification of the digital sphere. Grounded in classical sociological theories of inequality, as well as empirical evidence, this book defines ‘the digital divide’ as the unequal access and utility of internet communications technologies and explores how it has the potential to replicate existing social inequalities, as well as create new forms of stratification. The Digital Divide examines how various demographic and socio-economic factors including income, education, age and gender, as well as infrastructure, products and services affect how the internet is used and accessed. Comprised of six parts, the first section examines theories of the digital divide, and then looks in turn at: Highly developed nations and regions (including the USA, the EU and Japan); Emerging large powers (Brazil, China, India, Russia); Eastern European countries (Estonia, Romania, Serbia); Arab and Middle Eastern nations (Egypt, Iran, Israel); Under-studied areas (East and Central Asia, Latin America, and sub-Saharan Africa). Providing an interwoven analysis of the international inequalities in internet usage and access, this important work offers a comprehensive approach to studying the digital divide around the globe. It is an important resource for academic and students in sociology, social policy, communication studies, media studies and all those interested in the questions and issues around social inequality.