The digital divide exists as a separation between those with access to the internet, and those that do not.
Author and consultant Jakob Nielsen defines the digital divide as taking shape in three different categories — economic, usability, and empowerment (Bourgeois et al., 2019).
The economic divide concerns the difference between those who can and cannot afford the equipment necessary to connect to the internet. The usability divide asserts the issue, “just because someone owns a computer, does it mean they can use it?” The empowerment divide illustrates the severe contrast between those who truly understand the power of the internet and computer hardware and those who do not.
Non-profits for change.
A program that seeks to address the economic divide is One Laptop per Child, a non-profit working to bring hardware and software to underprivileged children. Their initiative to bring a $100 laptop to children around the world has garnered criticism and unanswered questions, including: How will children learn to use the laptops? Who will provide maintenance and a reliable internet connection (Robertson, 2019)?
One Laptop per Child’s pursuit of delivering stability in the area of the economic divide has opened more significant wounds in the other two areas of the usability and empowerment divides.
Like a triadic color wheel, the digital divide achieves harmony only when all three areas are met with answers and fully supported.
To remedy the entire spectrum of the digital divide (e.g., economic, usability, empowerment), I believe it will take the full cooperation and unity of businesses, governments, families, and benefactors to make a lasting change.
Bourgeois, D., Smith, J., Wang, S. and Mortati, J. (2019). Chapter 11: Globalization and the Digital Divide. [online] Information Systems for Business and Beyond. Available at: https://opentextbook.site/informationsystems2019/chapter/chapter-11-globalization-and-the-digital-divide-information-systems-introduction/ [Accessed 29 Sep. 2019].
Robertson, A. (2019). OLPC’s $100 laptop was going to change the world — then it all went wrong. [online] The Verge. Available at: https://www.theverge.com/2018/4/16/17233946/olpcs-100-laptop-education-where-is-it-now [Accessed 29 Sep. 2019].