Technical Definitions

(links/citations included when appropriate)
This term is used to describe the patterns of unequal access to information technology like computers and the internet. The growth of the use of IT systems has led to disparities in the use of, and access to, information technologies. Disparities exist not only internationally between countries, but also within countries between different socio-economic groups as well as within what may appear to be relatively homogenous groups. This may lead to groups or individuals without access to IT being disadvantaged. Reasons for this diversity in access may be due to one or more of the following aspects:
  • Income because the hardware and software to access the IT costs money
  • Political restrictions in a country
  • Ability to use the technology maybe because of not being taught how to use it
  • Geographic location since the some places might not have the infrastructure to enable someone to access the internet
  • Other factors

Our Definitions in "Plain English"

This word is used to describe the patterns of differences in access to IT. These variations may be caused by geographical, economical, and political factors. Because of one or several of these factors, some people do not have the same access to IT as other people. This problem is seen especially between different countries and socio-economic groups. - Jorge

Images/Videos and Explanations

The pie graph at http://www.internetworldstats.com/stats.htm shows the great difference in use of IT between different parts of the World. For example, Middle-East Asia has an extremely low access and use of technology compared to other regions of the world like Western Europe. This lack of use of technology deprives them of many critical aspects like being able to acquire some knowledge and it complicates their success in business, government, and communication.


The video below shows that this problem does not only occur in less-developed countries, but that it can also occur within the nation of a developed country like the U.S.

As we can see in the following video, some companies and governments have already set out to search for solutions to this great issue.


Examples/Positives of the Digital Divide and Equality of Access

  • Tele-learning might bring opportunities to people who could only dream about going to class.
  • Having public libraries with internet leads to more people being able to access the internet, therefore also being able to acquire more knowledge and inter-connect with the rest of the society.
  • Having digital equality leads to more people reading advertisements on the internet, therefore increasing the potential amount of customers that could buy the product.

Non-examples/Negatives of the Digital Divide and Equality of Access

  • Factors like the cost of hardware and software make it impossible for everyone to have the financial power to acquire a computer and a way to access the internet.
  • It is said that in the future, voting will be done online. This would be un-democratic as many people do not have the possibility to access the internet
  • The world is becoming more and more IT dependent so people without access to IT might have a lower chance in succeeding in life and they will have a lower range of jobs of which they can apply to

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