While growing up, being a part of a digital divide was never something that I could even fathom. As I gain awareness and knowledge of this divide, it becomes more apparent that it is a cycle that seems to govern how our population utilizes technology for success. To my fortune, I was born into a financially stable family who always had access to technology, including computers with Internet access, phones, television, and basically anything that was relevant at the time.
I got my first cell phone when I was in 6th grade, which from what I remember, was pretty late compared to when most of my friends got cell phones. That’s just one example of how, throughout my childhood, I could never possibly perceive any such digital divide. Further on in my adolescent life, it became a social norm to receive an Apple MacBook (or some other laptop, if you weren’t cool) by the time you were in 7th grade.
Even now, as a college student at the University of Texas, technology plays a huge roll in my life, both in my lifestyle and in my success. Without my personal technological devices, I would have very few ways to communicate, and I simply cannot imagine life without these resources. I would have to utilize a paper map, which in my life, I have never had to use for my own reference. I would also have to attend a library to check my emails, the weather, news, sports news, and basically anything else relevant to my life now. Without my cell phone and laptop I am basically useless, because I would have no way to access educational resources or recreational sources on my own. I utilize resources such as Canvas, Blackboard, UT mail every day for classes. I am fortunate enough to always have Internet access where I live, and I do not have to utilize the library for technological reasons. I also utilize technology for my own personal reasons, such as using social media, reading about current events, catching up on my favorite television show, and for many other recreational endeavors.
Around the world, and even at the University of Texas, there are surely students, who have far fewer technological privileges than I do. There are even young adults my age who are less fortunate and do not have access to a proper education, and much less these technologies that we today, take for granted. I am grateful for my position in today’s digital divide, and I truly admire and sympathize for those who are less privileged than my peers and I are.
Hopefully, as a student and a subject of a fortunate upbringing, I will pass along these technological and social privileges to my children, my children’s children, and so on. This is not to say that I do not wish to rid the world of the digital divide that today, is an issue that is far larger than many people of my socioeconomic class can even imagine; it simply means that through my resources, my education, and my use of technology, I hope to ensure a future where my descendants can have access to these sources of personal satisfaction, knowledge, and success. In a broader scope, I wish for a future where no such digital divide exists. While this is incredibly lofty and unrealistic for any time in which I may still be alive, I can at least start by explaining these major discrepancies in technological access between social classes to those who are less informed about today’s digital structure. Now if everyone with these aforementioned privileges were willing to make an effort, we would be able to make a dent into the wall that stands between the low-income, low socioeconomic status families and the technology they need to succeed today.