What can we do to bridge the Digital Divide?
This question becomes one that pits the haves against the have-nots, with the caveat that the have-nots may not realize what they don’t have, so it perhaps really is a question of whether we can provide the opportunity for everyone to have the same access (but whether or not that opportunity is seized will depend on the individual).
Here are some of my ideas:
- Universal access to the internet: internet access should be subsidized by the government much like any other public utility so that it remains affordable, especially since so much of our daily lives revolves/will revolve around having internet access (i.e. applying for a job, paying bills online, accessing information, etc.). Ideally, internet access would be free and would not have to be middle-manned by various companies.
- Net neutrality: if access to the internet needs to be paid for, then there can only be one speed at which all web-based sites can operate, which ensures that not only folks who can afford faster internet can have faster internet, and that big corporations don’t have a leg-up over small service-based nonprofits (that serve the community) in terms of speedier website loads.
- Subsidized technology for low-income individuals and families: this idea is much easier said than done, because there are many different factors that can complicate it (i.e. being able to identify one’s SES by the machine one uses, what the cut-off income level should be, potential abuses of the system), but it would help ensure that everyone who wants a computer or smartphone, for example, can perhaps afford one.
- 24-hour access to public spaces that provide computers and internet access: so that individuals who choose not to prioritize technology and internet in their budgets can still have access.
- Big corporations and those in authority should care about the Digital Divide: because they’re the ones creating and deepening the divide in the name of profit, so they have a moral obligation to give back to those in need, in my opinion, by helping solve the Digital Divide.