The paper “ Аdvаntаgеs and Disаdvаntаgеs of Improving the Digital Divide” is a thoughtful variant of literature review on information technology. In today's world where knowledge-intensive activities are considered to be an important element of the economy, the allocation of knowledge across societies is progressively more linked to stratification. According to Al-mutawkkil, Heshmati, and Hwang (2009), the increased dissemination of the internet across the societies has led to postulation about the potential effects of the new medium on the population at large. Enthusiasts have heralded the potential advantage of technology indicating that technology will reduce the inequality through lowering barriers to information allowing individuals of all environments to advance their human capita, have easy access to health and education, enlarge their social networks and develop their living opportunities thus enhancing their life chances.
On the other hand, other people caution that the degree of difference in the spread of technology across societies will lead to increasing inequalities improving the point of view of those who are already in privileged positions while denying opportunities for development to the underprivileged. According to Al-mutawkkil, Heshmati, and Hwang (2009), evidently, most of the research, as well as policy, has focused on what parts of society have access to technology in regard to the internet.
Access is defined as having a network-connected machine at workplaces or at home. This paper discusses what the digital divide is. In order to have a clear understanding of the digital divide, the paper will discuss some of the advantages and disadvantages of improving the digital divide. Finally, the paper will discuss the type of policy approach that may assist in doing away with new inequalities emerging from differential access to and use of technology with the main focus on the internet. With the increased importance of the internet in almost all spheres of life, there has been a growing concern regarding the various patterns of its dispersion across society.
The different patterns of internet diffusion have led to the growth of the digital divide (Barzilai-Nahon 2006). The digital divide is defined as social stratification due to unequal capability to adapt access and create knowledge through the use of information and communication technologies.
In a simpler definition, the digital divide is the inequalities in access to as well as the use of the internet or medium, with a lower level of connectivity among ethnic and racial minorities, women, individuals with lower incomes, illiterate people and rural dwellers. Barzilai-Nahon (2006) maintains that the digital divide can be viewed as a subset of the broader divides that largely characterizes the universe. With many reports identifying differences among segments of the society, recent times have seen the emphasis on the increasing dispersion of internet among the society at large (Caselli and Coleman 2001).
Kiiski and Pohjola (2001) maintain that there is increased disagreement about whether inequalities in access and use of the internet are decreasing or increasing across different demographic categories. While some argue with time, most of the population will be online and no policy intervention is essential to attain equal distribution of internet across the population others, put emphasis on the increasing differences among the differences segments of the society at large (Caselli and Coleman 2001).
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