Topic 1

I am digitally lucky

There may be an assumption that in this modern technological age everyone can access the online world one way or another, however from taking part in the MOOC this week, I have learnt this is not the case. Digital differences suggest our online access is dependent on our own context and background. Van Dijk (2012) describes the factors influencing these differences under the term digital divide:

What is the digital divide

Source by Phoebe Taylor on Canva

Halford and Savage (2010) progressed from differences describing these as digital social inequalities. Their view, which I support, is that this marginalisation is a type of social exclusions. Their paper is very interesting, suggesting that those side-lined are further pushed from opportunities to develop skills and communication, social networking, consumption, education and engagement. Skills that help improve life chances and are arguably crucial to modern day. Whilst inequalities are not usually linked to digital world, Robinson et al (2015) stated that this inequality has equal importance to other more traditional forms.

I was surprised to find that even within a Western globalised country like the UK differences are still present, with 1 in 10 not using the internet (Figure 1) 

9 in 10 adults using internet.png

Figure 1: Recent Internet Users by age group, UK (2017). Source from ONS (2017)

The divide in the UK is such a small fraction in comparison to the worldwide access; where the divide between developed and less developed countries is large (Figure 2)

MAP.jpg

Figure 2: Share of population using the internet (2015). Source from World Bank (2017)

By outlining my own digital differences in the image below, I can see that I am in a very fortunate and lucky position. I believe my social background has largely benefitted me in this area. Without the access to the internet that I have I think I would be in a completely different position in terms of my education, skills and networking.

DIGI differences.png

Source by Phoebe Taylor on Canva

To conclude, I found this TEDx talk on bridging this digital divide discussed above very relevant to this topic

Word count: 297

References:

Van Dijk, J (2012) The evolution of the digital divide, Digital Enlightenment Yearbook, IOS Press. 

Halford, S. and Savage, M. (2010) Reconceptualizing Digital Social Inequality, Information, Communication & Society, 13: 7, 937 — 955

Robinson, L. et al (2015) Digital inequalities and why they matter. Information, Communication & Society, 18, 5, 569-582

Office for National Statistics (2017) Internet users in the UK: 2017. Accessed on 23rd Feb 2018 

World Bank (2017) World Development Indicators 2017 Map. Accessed on 23rd Feb 2018 

YouTube (2017) Bridging the digital divide. Published on 23rd May 2017. Accessed on 25th Feb 2018 

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7 thoughts on “I am digitally lucky”

  1. Hi, Phoebe!

    I really enjoyed reading about your evaluation of your digital differences, my background is similar in many of the aspects you presented. Also, I agree on all the points you made about the social marginalisation also including digital inequalities.

    I am curious about your experience in school. You mentioned that you developed your digital skills while studying and that you are lucky to be attending a digitally equipped University. Many young people do not get the chance to be introduced to what the Internet can offer them. They are considered disadvantaged and one of the most vulnerable groups in the UK. This is an article that explains the situation well and it contains findings from a recent study.

    Were you offered any formal training in school or were you just encouraged to develop these skills? How would’ve lack of knowledge impacted you in how you learn today?

    Iarina

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    1. Hi Iarina,

      Thanks for your comment. I’m glad you enjoyed reading my post. It was really interesting to learn about digital inequalities being a type of social marginalisation as I had not come across this before.

      Thanks for your question too. I found that article you linked very insightful, its so important to be aware that many young people are not as lucky as we are. In answer to your question, at school I took ICT classes from the age of 9 where I learned the basics of using a computer. I was very fortunate at my senior school that I was able to use a laptop for all my lessons- this meant I was teaching myself skills on the computer whilst learning throughout school. I think I would be in a completely different position if I had not had this opportunity, its difficult for me to imagine being without this but I suppose my digital literacies and even being able to use programmes on a computer would be close to none. My opportunities, learning abilities and overall knowledge would be completely different without this background.

      Phoebe

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  2. I thought the discussion of digital social inequalities in the Halford and Savage (2010) paper was interesting in highlighting how your experiences of the web are tied to your social grouping. This is a theme that may be worth exploring in regards to the ways in which particular social groups exert dominance on the culture of online spaces. This concept is discussed in Nakamura’s paper regarding the online space LambaM00 and the effects that gender, race and class had on people’s online experiences and the legitimization or de-legitimization of their identity (2007).

    I also liked how you represented Van Djik ideas on the different types of inequalities that make up the digital divide visually (2012). With regards to one of the four types of access, ‘digital skills’, Lutz, & Hoffmann’s paper may help expand the discussion on the impact that age has on these digital skills, as some elderly people wish to use the web but lack the technical skills (2017).

    References:

    Lutz, C., & Hoffmann, C. P. (2017). The dark side of online participation: exploring non-, passive and negative participation. Information, Communication & Society, 1-22. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/1369118X.2017.1293129?src=recsys&

    Nakamura, L. (2007) ‘Race in/for cyberspace: identity tourism and racial passing on the internet’ in Bell and Kennedy (Eds) The Cybercultures Reader (Second Edition only) London, Routledge. http://mysite.du.edu/~lavita/edpx_3770_13s/_docs/nakamura_race_in_cyberspace.pdf

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  3. Hi there,

    Thanks for your comment! Your point about the connection between dominance of social groups on online spaces is a very valid point and something that I had not thought about before, especially in connection with Nakamura’s paper. Having looked at Lutz and Hoffman’s article I can see the importance of focusing in on specific factors such as age, which in the ONS statistic I used in my blog (https://www.ons.gov.uk/businessindustryandtrade/itandinternetindustry/bulletins/internetusers/2017) seems to be a large contributor to the inequalities in the UK. I can see how from exploring a factor such as age we can get a deeper understanding of why this difference may occur (through the lack of skills as you suggest) and how we can do something to improve this. For example, it might be an idea to have web based class available in communities targeted to an older age group!

    Thanks again for reading my post!

    Phoebe

    Like

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