What are Digital Differences?
When researching this topic, I was interested to find out; whilst digital inequality continues to expand globally in many directions, the relationship between online inequalities being affected by offline inequalities is yet to be fully recognised. To begin to understand how inequalities affect access I evaluated my personal digital differences.
Figure 1: Figure created by Megan Padgett
I would like to focus on three important factors contributing to inequality that I believe effect people in my close environment:
After reading Lauren Bates’ article on sexism I recognised that although personally I have not been at a disadvantage, gender may play a bigger role in digital differences that I originally thought.
I incredibly lucky to be able to freely access the internet, voice my opinion in communities and not be criticised but others may not have it the same and their negative experiences may influence their online presence.
Table 1: Data collected from We are Social comparing the gender facebook usage around the world showing women are still significantly underrepresented in their digital access.
Table created by Megan Padgett
|Facebook Gender Balance|
|Highest Female Ratio|
|#||Country||% of population||Female Users|
|Highest Male Ratio|
|#||Country||% of population||Male Users|
Whether mental or physical disabled, technological access remains restricted. This may be due to difficultly learning or requiring special technology that is not available outside their home.
Disability may affect an individual’s working competence thus economic status. Therefore, expensive specialist technology required may further hinder technological access entering a downwards spiral of digital exclusion and contribute to the outcome of Figure 2.
Figure 2: Data gathered from the Office of National Statistics in 2017
Figure created by Megan Padgett
Growth in 2017’s internet users has been driven by more affordable smart phone and mobile data plans which, in the future may reduce the digital divide. But as the technological world continues to develop, this certainly will not remain the case.
Figure 3 is statistics about internet access and devices used globally which have emerged from the improvement in affordability.
Figure 3: Data collected from We Are Social
Created by Megan Padgett
Figure 4: Info graph collected from We are Social
Aleph Molinari recognises the importance of bridging the digital divide. He argues that the internet should be a human right in his TED talk.
Video from Youtube
Word count : 309
Robinson, L., Cotten, S.R., Ono, H., Quan-Haase, A., Mesch, G., Chen, W., Schulz, J., Hale, T.M. and Stern, M.J., 2015. Digital inequalities and why they matter. Information, Communication & Society, 18(5), pp.569- [Accessible via: 582. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/1369118X.2015.1012532]
Kemp, S. (2018). Digital in 2018: World’s internet users pass the 4 billion mark – We Are Social. [online] We Are Social. Available at: https://wearesocial.com/blog/2018/01/global-digital-report-2018 [Accessed 23 Feb. 2018].
Bates, L. (2017). What I have learned from five years of Everyday Sexism. The Guardian. [online] Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/apr/17/what-i-have-learned-from-five-years-of-everyday-sexism [Accessed 20 Feb. 2018].
Watling, S. (2011). Digital exclusion: coming out from behind closed doors. Disability & Society, 26(4), 491-495. [Used to discover source below]
Rust, E. (2015). How the internet still fails disabled people. The Guardian. [online] Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/jun/29/disabled-people-internet-extra-costs-commission-scope [Accessed 22 Feb. 2018].