The Second Digital Divide

I was interested in the need for cooperation between governments, NGOs, and other organizations so I looked on the World Bank website and found this blog post on the “Second Digital Divide” and found it really interesting. It points out that while the digital divide refers to the lack of ICTs for the poor and marginalized in developing countries, there is an equally as important “Second Digital Divide” that has been created. This new divide refers to the education and skill sets associated with new technologies that many groups go without for extended periods of time despite their access to the actual technology. It is noted that the second digital divide is included in many definitions of the digital divide but I believe that this separation is important if the problem is to be addressed fully.

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3 responses to “The Second Digital Divide

  • stinamurph

    It’s worth noting how multifaceted the digital divide truly is. It absolutely is an important separation to identify that simply dumping computers or cell phones on people doesn’t fix things. Having a laptop in front of you is of no use without reliable power, proper bandwidth or the skill set necessary to use it.

  • stinamurph

    Christina, I found your comment really interesting because I experienced many power outages while I was abroad in Senegal. I learned first hand just how much the world relies on it to do work, maintain order, and keep the citizens happy. It also gave me an interesting perspective on just how much energy the United States uses in comparison to the rest of the world. I can only imagine how much chaos would result if the technological world we live in was suddenly stripped from hour for many hours each day. What would people living in the US do without their microwave dinners, cable tv, internet, street lights or wii?

    Emily Swietlik

  • stinamurph

    I think the Second Digital Divide is especially significant when you’re determining the sustainability of a ICT project. If you’ve begun a project that provides computers to rural African school children, you need to make sure you’re also teaching them how to use the computers and teaching someone in the community computer maintenance. There are so many other factors to consider besides just helping people gain access to a new technology, they need to learn how to use the resource and pass on that knowledge new generations in their community after your program has ended. The Second Digital Divide must be overcome if a ICT4D project hopes to create lasting technological progress in a community.

    Alexandra Quarles

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