The Washington, DC digital divides: A state of digital disparity
Johnnie E. Drake, Capella University, United States
Capella University . Awarded
Computer usage aided by Internet accessibility is vital to the United States’ ability to maintain its position as a leader in this information-driven global society. Connectivity and access to the Internet are particularly important as the Internet becomes further embedded in our society as a source for teaching, learning, entertainment, and business. Since the turn of the century, home computer usage and Internet access have undergone previously unseen growth, driven by the nation’s need for information, communication, entertainment, and economic services. While the home computer has a clear role in supplementing employment- and education-related activities, many families are drawing upon the rapidly changing technology for personal communications, banking, entertainment, and e-commerce. During the past decade, use of the Internet to facilitate personal and professional activities has grown significantly. Decreasing costs, coupled with increased access speed and reliability, have fueled this incredible expansion, making computers and access to the world via the Internet a necessary tool for many homes in today’s society. However, segments of the population must rely on public access to become proficient with computers and enjoy the advantages and empowerment of the Internet. The most visible and easily accessible source of personal computing time, training, and Internet access that is available cost-free to users is the public library system. The gap between the so-called “information rich” and “information poor” is too broad to enable one to understand the complexities of what is currently going on because it presupposes that there is a simple divide between those who possess the technologies and enjoy their benefits, and those who cannot do so for whatever reasons. The term “digital divide” itself is a metaphor evoking the image of a gulf, a chasm, between those who enjoy the technologies and those who do not. This presupposed bifurcation perhaps oversimplifies the issue and tends to lead one to think that the world is divided into two kinds of people, where in fact the reality is much more complex.
Drake, J.E. The Washington, DC digital divides: A state of digital disparity. Ph.D. thesis, Capella University.
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