There has been a movement for quite some time to close the digital divide. The issue, originally, was the great disparity between people of means who had good access to technology and the restricted access of those of little means. Now, according to articles from The New York Times, NPR, and The Digital Divide Institute, the divide has taken on a different nature. New studies show that minorities and people with little means have begun acquiring increasing access to technology but their technological use is much different than that of ethnic majorities and people with means.
The haves tend to seek out more online news and more communities of people who share their interest or the same profession. They tend more to be creators rather than simply consumers. In addition, they usually have access to faster internet and stronger download speeds. They understand the difference between scams and good information. The haves know how to search for information effectively, they know how to use the Internet effectively, and they understand the Internet. They are those who strive to continue learning. The challenge, now, is making sure access is equal and proportional. To work with after school programs, summer camps, and volunteers from the other side of the divide,in order to introduce kids, and anyone who is interested, to other areas of the internet, areas that could be more productive and give them more opportunities in life. In addition, inexpensive or free classes for those who do not understand media and/or want to learn could make leaps and bounds in closing the divide. This will help because many who do not use technology or do not use it efficiently do so out of ignorance, fear, and lack of assistance.
Closing this digital divide, or at least building a strong sturdy bridge across it, is important because as a society we need a collective culture. As a society, as a country, a collective culture is important because a collective culture makes us stronger, it makes a better society, it makes a safer society, it makes a more productive society.
For the sake of our country and our communities we must do all we can to close this digital divide.