As noted on page 219 (p. 155) in your textbook, "The 'great digital divide' is a term coined to address the concerns of many people that the world is becoming one marked by the 'have's' and 'have...

As noted on page 219 (p. 155) in your textbook, "The 'great digital divide' is a term coined to address the concerns of many people that the world is becoming one marked by the 'have's' and 'have not's'  with respect to technology."  Address the following thoughts:

  • Is there a digital divide in the United States?  Include statistics to support your answer.
  • Find one government or private company that has a program that is attempting to address this concern either here in the United States or in another country. What is being done in the program to lessen the gap in the divide?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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While there is much in way of widening use of digital technology in the United States, there is a distinct digital divide in America.  Part of it comes back to the basic idea that there are economic differences in America.  This economic disparity is reflective of how material reality plays a large role in how doors close and opportunities are denied.  One example of this would have to be access to sustainable digital technology.  A Pew Center study in 2012 revealed some of these realities.  The survey suggested that "88% of Americans over the age of 18 have a cellphone (smartphone or otherwise), and 66% of Americans aged 18-29 have smartphones. But only 57% of Americans have a laptop."  This points to a digital divide in terms of how unequal wealth distribution precludes full digital citizenship in terms of use of a laptop.  The survey further argued this point:  “Among smartphone owners, young adults, minorities, those with no college experience and those with lower household income levels are more likely than other groups to say that their phone is their main source of Internet access.”  One can make an clear argument that the digital divide is exacerbated in areas of the nation that are economically disempowered.  Access to technology is one of many areas that is impacted when areas experience economic challenge.

Facebook is one company that has sought to develop a way to lessen the digital divide gap in the United States. Mark Zuckerberg donated 100 million dollars to Newark Public Schools in New Jersey.  Zuckerberg did not have any stipulations to the allocation of the money.  He wanted to help an area that experiences the downside of the digital divide. His Start- Up Foundation is one that seeks to reduce the challenging effects of the gap in technological access. This is one way in which individuals in the position of economic power seek to help out those who are in technological need. 

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