The Inner Digital Divide

How is it possible that I did not even realize the extent of the digital divide? I was so caught up in my own little digital world, that I did not realize there was even a world outside of it. I say my “own little world”; however, my digital worse is enormous with an array of opportunities and uses I cannot even begin to list. I just as much assumed that everyone in the world had the same access to Facebook and Instagram as I did. Using a variety of technologies in my daily life, I was blinded by the fact that not everyone has the same access as I am privileged to have. Every morning, the first thing I do is pull out my handy iPhone and check Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat. Scary to think that some people are deprived of having any access to the Internet and makes me wonder what my life could possibly be like without these technologies.

I know the facts of the digital divide, the statistics, the ratios; however, studying it more in depth actually just makes it far more confusing. There are so many aspects to the digital world that have yet to be explored and as they continue to be discovered, it seems as though the gap between the digital and non-digital world is growing, not being bridged. As Danah Boyd says in her book, “It’s Complicated”, “over the past decade, social media has evolved from being an esoteric jumble of technologies to a set of sites and services that are at the heart of contemporary culture” (Boyd, 6).  Social media has grown to be much more than chatting online, for us at least. But what about those people who have not even been on the Internet once in their lives? Their opportunities to be expanding horizons online, even to just a sardonic Buzzfeed article, is really just dwindling into a dream they may not even be aware of. Now, they are missing out on the knowledge and entertainment the Internet is continuously providing to those with Internet access.

Although I make my argument that the digital divide is worsening, I realize the only people who will even be able to have access to this argument, are those who are online. I am referring to this non-digital world, when realistically I am only speaking to a digital one. If I could have one day without technology, I doubt I could make it through the painfully boring 24 hours; however, then I look at my Facebook page and realize people looking at that have a different perspective of me than who I actually am. Maybe those without access are, in a way, lucky that they are not hiding behind a screen that could create a warped perception of them.

This post was written by a student, and has been left unedited by the admin, with the exception of any hyperlinks.

3 thoughts on “The Inner Digital Divide

  1. I agree, the Internet slowly took over all aspects of our life. Although it can be stressful to have to be careful about our online presence all the time, I can’t imagine life any other way.

  2. This post was a joy to read. You are exactly right when you say that the more you know about something―in this case, the digital divide―the more confusing it becomes. I love that you acknowledge that you are preaching to the choir. Those without access to the internet are missing out on so much opportunity that we take for granted. Although we’ve generally reached the consensus that we’d all like to see the digital divide grow increasingly small, I can’t help but wonder if rural Bhutanese yak herders, for example, think we’re missing out on something equally important to them. We present an idealized version of ourselves online to make others think better of us, but that is far from the only place we do it. It’s a shared human experience to which no one is immune, including technologically-limited Bhutanese yak herders.

    That being said, I can scarcely fathom life without modern technology, and it would be interesting to read how going without internet access for even a span of several hours to a day (obviously, not counting sleeping hours) would affect you. Great job, classmate!

  3. I found this blog post very interesting and accurate. I feel like many people today do hide behind a computer or laptop screen and are unable to fully experience the real world.

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