Pew Report Adds Details on Digital Divide
Not long ago, I wrote about how, contrary to suggestions from some, the digital divide is very much still an unfortunate reality in this country. A new report by the reputable Pew Internet & American Life Project, a project of the Pew Research Center, adds some illuminating details.
According to the report’s authors, “certain aspects of the current Internet population still strongly resemble the state of Internet adoption in 2000, when one of Pew Internet’s first reports found that minorities, adults living in households with lower incomes, and seniors were less likely than others to be online.” The state of the Internet, and technology generally, have come so far since 2000; it is alarming to think that Internet adoption has not.
One fact that particularly caught my attention was that 12% of offline American adults say that the main reason they don’t use the Internet or email is because they don’t have a computer. Additionally, most of these non-users have never used the Internet; nor has anyone else in their household.
Today, it’s difficult to take full advantage of all the web offers without a broadband connection. And Pew’s researchers found that four in ten Americans don’t have high-speed connectivity in their homes.
But here’s what’s most troubling of all: the gap between the haves and the have nots is expanding. The report’s authors put it this way: “The gap in technical experience – and general understanding of the Internet – between online adults and offline adults is increasing.” That’s another way of saying that the gap between those who can navigate the 21st century economy and those who cannot is growing larger.
Thankfully, I have a job that lets me get down to the business of addressing these problems. I’m optimistic that the efforts of all of us addressing the digital divide will allow future reports to be different.
I would love to learn about initiatives you are involved with related to this issue – what is going on in your locality related to the digital divide?