- Dickard, N, & Schneider, D (2002). The Digital Divide: Where We Are Today. Edutopia, Retrieved April 7, 2008, from http://www.edutopia.org/digital-divide-where-we-are-today.
I found this article recently and, although it doesn’t go with my specific topic of study within the digital divide, I have to post it anyways because it really made me mad.
This article takes a look at a report released in February of 2002, from the U.S. Department of Commerce, titled “A Nation Online: How Americans Are Expanding Their Use of the Internet.” The message from this report is that the digital divide is not an issue anymore and is no longer a concern. However, as you can guess, MANY people disagree with this! I am one of those people. I STRONGLY disagree with this! I think the digital divide is still a major concern, and that the problem could possibly be growing.
Here are some important facts talked about:
- 54% (or 143 million) of Americans are using internet – this actually seems quite low to me, considering how much our society revolves around the internet for jobs, education, etc.
- This number is growing by 2 million new users a month, due to federally funded programs.
- However, “the current Administration sees ‘A Nation Online as proof that a targeted national commitment to bridging the divide is no longer necessary. Along with a 17 percent decrease in educational technology funding from FY 2001, the TOP and CTC programs have been slated for termination in 2003.” (Dickard & Schneider, 2002)
- If we take the aid away, aren’t the numbers going to DECREASE, not INCREASE??? Hmm, something to think about.
The following are two arguments given in the article:
“Federal Communications Commission Chairman Michael Powell that what we have is a ‘Mercedes divide,’ …many of the Internet's so called 'have-nots' are really 'want-nots” (Dickard & Schneider, 2002).
“In response to arguments that the Internet is unnecessary or something of a luxury, Mark Lloyd, Executive Director of the Civil Rights Forum on Communications Policy, said, ‘Being disconnected in the Information Age is not like being deprived of a Mercedes or some other luxury. Being disconnected means being disconnected from the economy and democratic debate’ “(Dickard & Schneider, 2002).
Which side are you on? Do you feel the divide is diminishing? If so, what do you think will happen when federal aid disappears?