The era of globalization is characterized by the open access to information and technology from developed countries to developing countries. Unfortunately, globalization does not always bring good impacts to developing countries. There are still gaps when it comes to access to information since internet users are still dominated in urban areas. This condition causes global digital divide. So, what is exactly the global digital divide? Here is all that you need to know about it.
Definition of Global Digital Divide
First of all, let’s figure out what digital divide is. Digital divide is the economic and social gap related to access, use, and impact of information and communication technology. Gaps among countries can refer to gaps between individuals, businesses, and geographic areas, usually with different economic levels or other categories. The global digital divide itself is the gap occurring among countries across the globe. It usually happens between developed countries and developing countries at the international level.
The term digital divide was first introduced in the report of The National Telecommunication and Information Administration, which is the government body of the United States of America that handles telecommunication and information fields. The report categorized citizens into 2 groups; Those who have and those who do not have access to technology, information, and communication. Global digital divide is not only related to physical aspects but it can also be related to gaps in politics, social, gender, economy, culture, ethnicity, geography, and demography.
Impacts of Global Digital Divide
The positive impact of global digital divide for those who do not know or apply technology yet is they will be able to contribute in improving information technology. Information technology is today’s technology that can unite or combine various information and resources to be used as knowledge for human beings. While the negative impact of global digital divide is that those who are able to produce and use technology will get higher chances to manage economic resources. While those who do not have any access to technology must be satisfied as an audience.
That is the information about global digital divide. Creating innovations by investing in infrastructure is not enough to overcome this global issue. Such an effort seems to overcome the entire issue, but it actually still leaves other untouched issues. In several cases, global digital divide also happens among citizens who are fully aware of technology. This is why both governments and citizens should work together.
The development of technology has brought quite significant changes in various fields of life. Advances in technology have accelerated changes, especially in the way of exchanging information. As you know, it is extremely easy and quick to access information from the internet today. You can get any information you want to know at any time and anywhere. Developed countries with better education and economic systems have catched this opportunity so that they are able to produce a huge volume of digital information.
While developing countries tend to be consumers only. The technology tends to not be evenly spread in developing countries. This is what causes the global digital divide. Global digital divide is the gap between those who have the ability in terms of access, and knowledge in the use of modern technology, and those who have no chance to enjoy the technology. It can also be defined as a gap between those who are able to use the technology and those who are not.
The main cause of global digital divide is insufficient infrastructure available, such as the internet, computer, electricity, and so on. Equal distribution of infrastructure is not well-performed by the government. So that people who live in areas that are not reached by the infrastructure cannot enjoy the benefits of technology. Moreover, the lack of use of the internet itself makes people misuse the technology. People in urban areas tend to use the internet only for entertainment. They are able to access the internet yet they cannot produce anything.
Economic conditions can also be the cause of global digital divide. People with low income cannot fully enjoy the advantages of technology. Some of them even do not think about using it. Generational differences also contribute to global digital divide. New generations that are already familiar with technology can easily learn new things. This is why teenagers and young adults can absorb information better than the elderly in this digital era.
Several solutions that can be applied to overcome global digital divide are preparing citizens to handle, value, accept, decide, and choose available information. They should be given education to prevent them from directly accepting certain information without seeking the truth first. With the right preparation, people will understand better about the access to technology to easily get information in this digital era. Cooperation between the government and private sectors in accelerating infrastructure development can also reduce the digital divide.
Global digital divide defines global gaps, especially between developed countries and developing countries, in regards to access to information and computing resources. For example, the internet and chances gained from such access. Just like a smaller unit of analysis, this disparity describes inequality that exists, refers to the global scale. The internet is developing very rapidly. However, not all countries around the world, especially developing countries have the ability to keep up with the constant changes.
The term digital divide does not always mean that someone or a country does not have technology. It can also mean that there is a difference in technology. The differences can refer to various things. Such as technical assistance, computer quality, fast internet, telephone services, and so on. These kinds of differences can also be considered as a disparity.
Global Digital Divide VS Digital Divide
Global digital divide is a specific case of digital divide. The focus of such an issue is set on the fact that the internet is not evenly developed throughout the world. This condition causes several countries to be left behind in technology, labor, education, tourism, and democracy. The concept of digital divide was initially introduced in regard to the gap in internet access in rural areas and urban areas in the States. Global digital divide also causes another issue, which is unequal access to services and goods available through technology.
The internet and computers provide users with better education that can lead to better salaries. Therefore, people who live in areas with limited internet access are disadvantaged. This global divide is frequently characterized as the North-South divide, where northern are wealthier nations while southern are poorer ones.
Obstacles in Overcoming Global Digital Divide
Some argue that necessities have to be considered before achieving inclusion. For example, sufficient food and quality health care. Moreover, some factors should be considered as well when it comes to minimizing global digital divide. For instance, financial access. The cost of ICT devices, software, technicians, educator training, applications, traffic, maintenance, and infrastructures need continuous financial means.
Other obstacles include physical access, cultural access, political access, design access, institutional access, cognitive access, and socio-demographic access.