The digital divide is the difference between people who take advantage of digital technology and people who don’t. They may have internet access, but lack digital skills.
The elderly in particular, people with a migration background, people in a disadvantaged or vulnerable position (due to, for example, an intellectual disability) may have difficulty keeping up digitally. Media literacy is important to ensure that more people take advantage of the opportunities offered by digital media.
Digital Divide Definition
A digital divide is any uneven distribution in the access to, use of, or impact of Information and Communication Technologies between any number of distinct groups. These groups may be defined based on social, geographical, or geopolitical criteria, or otherwise. Wikipedia
Digital Divide Between Generations
There is a generation gap between old and young. Young people who grow up with digital media often know better how to use media to improve their lives. The elderly have not grown up with the internet and sometimes do not see the point of it. In 2019, within the context of the Media Literacy Week, research was presented on the digital inclusion of older people. This revealed, among other things, that people over 55 are often still insufficiently skilled in everyday media use.
Young Internet users are more concerned than older generations about misuse of their photos or about being bugged. While older people are more concerned about phishing and the safety of online payments. This is evident from the 2019 What’s Happening Online survey .
Digital Divide Between the Highly and Low-Skilled
Young people and highly educated people benefit most from the internet. They are increasingly able to use the internet for their personal growth. They use digital applications for information, education and career. Low-skilled people use the internet mainly for entertainment: gaming, chatting and watching online videos.
The group of people with an intellectual disability is extra vulnerable on the internet. That requires extra guidance.
Digital Divide and People with a Migration Background
Parents with a migration background and native parents experience the same bottlenecks in the media education of their children. However, there are also differences. Study shows that parents with a migration background more often think that they should watch television and provide videos and explain when necessary. So they are better prepared to support their child with media use.
Parents with a migration background are often more difficult to reach for media coaches and organizations. This was evident from the 2010 exploratory memorandum from the Knowledge Center for emancipation and participation of young people from ethnic minorities. Media use and media literacy . They also conclude that there are differences in the media that young people use and that the (cultural) context in which media are used is decisive.
Digital Divide Between Citizen and Government
The digital divide between citizen and government is also widening. This is because more and more government services are using the internet, such as tax returns, applying for supplements, permits or benefits. Citizens sometimes get lost in the forest of web forms and fail to present their problem to a ‘real’ person.
Digital Divide Between Rich and Poor Countries
In the United States of America, we can close the gap with media and information literacy lessons. Internet access is a problem in other countries. In large parts of Africa and Asia the technical preconditions such as a telephone line, electricity and a PC with modem are lacking.
Improve Your Skills: You Can Do This!
- Future Learn is a free online learning program for people who have rarely or never been online. Together with a supervisor they can improve their digital skills
- The reading book ‘My computer is fun’ is suitable for low-skilled and / or parents who have difficulties.
- The Digi meter is an online tool for municipalities, UWVs and other organizations that can be used to easily identify whether citizens have difficulties with daily digital skills.
- SeniorWeb organizes workshops, walk-in hours and computer courses to help seniors find their way online