Barriers to Closing the Digital Divide

This week in our ICT4D class, we discussed different indicators for ICTs, such as accessibility. One of our main focuses was on the fact that technology is a dynamic field, continuously changing. These changes lead to what is known as the digital divide, or “the growing differnces in access to and use of ICTs at a range of scales, from local to international” (Unwin, p. 26).

What contributes to the digital divide that can lead to hindrances in development programs based around ICTs?

Countries around the world have been developing programs based around ICTs to improve their countries. However, a number of skeptics are asking whether technology can create progress in development. For example, last week, in the Philippines, their Department of Social Welfare and Development launched a program that uses tweets from users to find kids from the street. This program is an innovative way for the government to be more aware of what is going within their cities. However, the main issue that the department has been having is that the citizens do not trust the government. While these kids probably are homeless, without a means to get by, and do need help, users have sent tweets in that illustrate their belief that these children will not be helped, but rather hidden from the public view. If the users do not trust their own government, how can anything be changed? If they did trust the government, would this program actually succeed in helping people?

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2 responses to “Barriers to Closing the Digital Divide

  • clairedwyre

    That is very intriguing that the Philippine’s government is using twitter for social welfare purposes. I do see the issue you are discussing, many times when citizens do not trust the government it does hinder some government actions. Although, on the other perspective for the citizens to have such a widespread distrust the government has likely had bouts of corruption or a lack of transparency.

  • emilyschnitt

    The more I read about the digital divide, the more I see the complexities in this problem. Not only is it between developing and developed countries, but it can be between citizens as well, such as those with access and those without. Additionally, as seen in the Philippines, it can occur through different beliefs and mistrusts that hinder the ability to allow the digital age to progress. While the aforementioned project is an idea that could be beneficial, the trust in the government is essential to this progression. The relationship between the government and the people must improve for this to successfully continue.

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