Digital differences refer to the factors which make our use of digital technologies different. As seen in the info graphic below, the factors are split in to macro (institutional) and micro (individual).
The ‘digital divide’ has been referred to as these macro/micro factors mirrors the social inequality that we see offline, with many of the same vulnerable groups in society not getting the same quality of access/usage of digital technologies.
Digital usage and access has been an issue that the Government has taken interested in, with the Ofcom Connected Nations Report 2017 being used to make them aware of access issues (at least from a technical standpoint). This has led to the Government issuing a press release saying that ‘high-speed internet’ should be a “legal right”.
Example of Macro/Micro Factors
A study by Davies, Eynon and Wilkin (2017) who tried to set up a scheme giving families with low-economic status access to home broadband access only to find that the families ran in to so many technical problems that weren’t fixed fast enough and teachers that soon lost interest in the scheme. In their conclusions they talk about how these families couldn’t utilise the technologies because they didn’t have the “power of choice” to change providers, demand for better service or change schools that were more adept at utilising technology. This exemplifies the digital divide economically and technically.
Growing up in the South of England and having access to medium-fast speed broadband since I was a child has helped me with my learning/access to information. Being a man, 21 and without any disabilities has meant that I have had an extremely fortunate use of digital technologies. With a Government that wants ‘high-speed’ internet for everyone as is a “legal right” and that also adopts net neutrality. I am extremely lucky to have the web access and digital usage capabilities I do.
Word count: 315
Davies, H., Eynon, R. and Wilkin, S. (2017). Neoliberal gremlins? How a scheme to help disadvantaged young people thrive online fell short of its ambitions. Information, Communication & Society, 20(6), pp.860-875.
Department of Culture, Media and Sport (2017). High speed broadband to become a legal right. [online] Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/high-speed-broadband-to-become-a-legal-right [Accessed 25 Feb. 2018].
Ofcom (2017). Connected Nations Report 2017 [online] pp.1-6. Available at: https://www.ofcom.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0024/108843/summary-report-connected-nations-2017.pdf [Accessed 24 Feb. 2018].