Is the digital divide increasing?

by Andrew Roach on March 22, 2013

Ever since the Internet has arrived into the world, it has seemingly provided a split between younger and older generations as the youth capitalised on all the latest innovations.

However, a new study has suggested that the divides are getting stronger as social and economic disputes transfer from the real world into the virtual world.

The findings, released by Western University in Ontario, suggested that these factors have been carried across thanks to the growing role of technology in our everyday lives.

It’s not just age which was looked at by the survey as sport, finance and culture were all investigated to get an overview into modern society.

Whilst everyone will have access to the Internet in some way, not everyone is able to use the web for all sorts of different activities.

For example, the survey found that those coming from a poorer background were unable to do as much online as those who were a bit wealthier.

Everyone was able to check emails and sites such as Facebook and Twitter but others were able to use the web to access and perform more advance tasks such as look up medical information online.

Not only that, but participants who held a degree from college were able to use the internet much more efficiently to perform tasks than those who didn’t go into higher education.

However, the classic age divide has shifted from access to the actual purpose of using the internet on a daily basis.

Many younger people were found to generally use the Internet for more social purposes such as chatting with friends and family whilst users over 55 were more concerned about using it to keep track of important information such as checking finances and paying off bills.

The cultural differences were noted by the study’s creators who were quick to pick up on the different uses between various groups. In an interview with the National Post, co-author Anabel Quan-Haase said that “It’s not about just access. It’s also about knowing what to do when you are online, and taking advantage of all these amazing services.”

Even though the web has become a key part of all our daily lives, it seems that the digital divide has changed from being merely about age to reflecting more on the social limitations in our towns and cities as the virtual world merges ever closer to the real world.

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{ 2 trackbacks }

Rogers aims to end Toronto’s digital divide —
June 5, 2013 at 2:52 am
Study reveals the increasing divide between young and old tech users —
December 4, 2013 at 6:11 am

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