Digitally Left Behind Community
What is the Digital Divide?
The use of Information Technology (IT) has increased rapidly due to the proliferation of end-user devices available to individuals and the ubiquitous connectivity of these devices. Businesses and the Government are exploiting these channels they offer benefits because of their efficiencies and reach. Many people are now connected and on-line, but with varying degrees of skills, confidence and equipment. A significant number of individuals are not connected, or have inadequate skills, confidence or equipment and this has resulted in what it known as The Digital Divide.
Changing Perceptions of the Digital Divide
Historically the Digital Divide has, despite research and warnings to the contrary, been regarded as a problem primarily for older people. The COVID-19 pandemic of 2020/21 has clearly illustrated this is not the case and the Digital Divide has its roots in a number of factors:
- The abilities and desires of people to use technology
- The degree to which technology, products and solutions have been designed to be inclusive
- The availability of appropriate equipment
Many Governments had equated access and use of smart Internet connected devices such as tablets and phones as proof of the lack of a Digital Divide in younger generations. In reality access to adequate numbers of Internet connected devices to conduct work, and the skills to use them, is often limited. Many households have no access to laptops or computers with keyboards. Many more had only one laptop for the whole family. It is therefore challenging in the extreme for all members of a family to be schooled and work remotely.
What should be done?
This website represents the public repository of a volunteer community from both industry and academia that is looking at the problem of the Digital Divide. The community's activities are in three primary areas:
- Research around the size, personal and economic impact of the Digital Divide
- Research into the causes of the Digital Divide and what might be practically done to close it
- Development of new industry best practices to help close the Digital Divide
It is hoped that in addressing these three areas in parallel then sufficient insight and pressure can be generated to assist in closing the Divide.
Spreadsheet of data
The following spreadsheet was compiled by Chris Winter and the DLBC team. It contains a list of useful published information: File:Information gathered.xlsx