Growing up in a suburban, middle-class family, the digital divide was never something I even considered to hinder me in my daily life. I can’t remember a time when there was not a computer in my home and I distinctly remember getting my first cell-phone in fifth grade. Was it really necessary that I had one? No, but I grew up in a society where using technology was the social norm and you didn’t stray from that. As a teenager, not only is it about having technology, but it is more about having the latest and greatest technology. I can’t imagine not having an I-phone, although many say Samsung phones are better quality than Apple phones. However, Apple products are more flashy and popular, making the demand greater and making me want to fit into that social construct by owning one. An example of the divide that was more relevant to my personal life is the fact that I have access to the Internet for all of my educational research; however, my parents did not have this when they were in school. They always said, “O wish we had the Internet when we were in high school. We had to go to the library and look through stacks of books.” While the concept of a library is not foreign to me since I used it in my primary education, as I went up in grade levels my library usage decreased and I became more dependent on the Internet. Unlike my parents generation, I think our children’s generation will rarely step foot into a library for research because technology has developed far past that. It is much more time efficient to just “Google it” to get your answers immediately in a society where patience is greatly diminishing. However, in areas where the divide is still prevalent, I believe this divide will still be a problem for future generations.
Despite my access to technology and being in the generation where technology is extremely familiar, my gender is something that does present somewhat of a digital divide for me. As a woman, I was never aware that I would be treated or viewed differently online. As a somewhat stereotypical woman, I do spend a lot of online time on social media websites or online shopping. The only advertisements I see on my computer are shopping or fitness ads, all clearly geared to attract teenage women. While I do enjoy shopping, it is not the only thing I am interested in just because I am a woman. I never once received an advertisement about education or the workforce, only meaningless ads on how to get my “bikini body.” In addition to the advertisements I receive compared to a man, statistics show that more women are on Pinterest and more men are on Reddit. I fit perfectly into this statistic in the fact that I have a Pinterest account and have never used Reddit. In fact, prior to this class I had never heard of Reddit. I believe that the reason I don’t find myself offended by the way women are represented in technology use is because I personally fit into the stereotypes that are portrayed. While I do still use the Internet to do things that do not fall into the “Feminine” category such as read news articles or Buzzfeed which appear to be gender neutral things, I do engage in a lot of extremely feminine Internet use. While being a young, middle class American has sheltered me from the digital divide, being a woman has shown me otherwise.