RS 1: USA

Contemporary Digital Divides In The United States

In modern day, the internet plays a major role in our everyday lives. The internet is an open encyclopedia of knowledge that allows individuals to collaborate in many different ways. Over the years, the internet has “transformed from an instrument used by a small minority to an essential tool deployed by the vast majority of the population” (Warf). Throughout Barney Warf’s article “Contemporary Digital Divides in the United States” he examines our countries differences in internet inequality and what factors contribute to how the digital divide has changed over time. The internet attracts a broad range of people for a variety of different purposes, but it is very evident that a significant percent of our world lacks access to internet activity. Warf states that those “excluded from cyberspace fail to benefit from the advantages that it could provide for them” (Warf). For example, some states across our country have a significantly small percent of their population that has access to the internet. He states that “New England, the northeastern seaboard, and the Pacific Coast [exhibit] high rates of connectivity and substantially lower rates throughout the South”. He claims that the South has such low rates because it is “frequently characterized by lower average incomes and educational levels”. Additionally, he refers to an external source that points out the differences between rural and urban areas. The article, “Spatial differences in Broadband Access” states that urban areas are “overserved” while the rural areas “lack easy access”. This source further suggests that rural areas are frequently areas with little internet access because “their populations are distributed over broad areas, [they] are frequently poorer, older, and less educated than those in urban areas” (Grubesic & Murray 2002). In addition, Warf discusses the gender gap among internet users. He states that in the late nineteenth century men were the largest users of the internet, but as years passed the gap deteriorated. He claims that “the declining gender gap speaks to the increasing use of cyberspace among younger women, particularly the well-educated” (Warf). According to Warf, “socio-economic variables such as education and income, namely, class, are persistent markers of the digital divide in the United States”. A survey that showed the growth in the United States internet users showed that the poor and the uneducated exhibited the lowest percentage of internet access while the successful and well educated showed the highest usage rates and highest amount of growth over time. Even though I pointed out only just a few of Warf’s claims, it is evident that this article provided insightful information on the digital divide of our country.

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