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View Digital Divide

The term digital divide refers to the gap between people with effective access to digital and information technology and those with very limited or no access at all. It includes the imbalances in physical access to technology as well as the imbalances in resources and skills needed to effectively participate as a digital citizen. In other words, it is the unequal access by some members of society to information and communication technology, and the unequal acquisition of related skills. The term is closely related to the knowledge divide as the lack of technology causes lack of useful information and knowledge. The digital divide may be classified based on gender, income, and race groups, and by locations. The global digital divide refers to differences in technology access between countries or the whole world.

The digital divide often refers to gaps in broadband network access, as well as inequalities between groups in the ability to use information technology fully.

Recognition of digital divide as an immense problem has led scholars, policy makers, and the public to understand the"potential of the Internet to improve everyday life for those on the margins of society and to achieve greater social equity and empowerment.”

Global digital divide
A key dimension of the digital divide is the global digital divide, reflecting and widening existing economic divisions in the world. In today’s society, jobs and education are directly related to the Internet.

In countries where the Internet and other technologies are not accessible education suffers and those societies that are not benefiting from information technology cannot be competitive in the global economy.

When dealing with the global aspect of the digital divide there are several causal factors. For example, country of residence, ethnicity, gender, age, educational attainment, and income levels are all factors of the global aspects of digital divide. According to one survey, 15 Western European countries females, manual workers, elderly, and the less educated have less Internet access than males, professional, the young, and the well educated. The digital divide can also refer to the skills people have – the divide between those who can effectively use technology to find and analyze data and those who cannot.

Overcoming the digital divide
Projects like One Laptop per Child and offer a partial solution to the global digital divide; these projects tend to rely heavily upon open standards and free open source software. The OLPC is an inexpensive laptop computer intended to be distributed to children in developing countries around the world, to provide them with access to knowledge. Other organizations also work overcome the digital divide through the use distribution of hardware for education such as low costs computers and WiFi-extending technology.

Some cities in the world have started programs to bridge the digital divide for their residents. Proponents of the open content, free software, and open access social movements believe that these movements help equalize access to digital tools and information.

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Overcoming the Digital Divide