Digital Differences is a short video that I made to explain this topic, I thought a visual aid might help to illustrate these points – prior to the body of text to follow:
Digital Differences refers to the manner in which our individual lives can impact the way we access and use the internet.
There are innate biases in the social groups that use the internet. Older people for example, are far less likely to use the internet as compared to their younger counterparts.
Those who have disabilities may be limited in their access and use of the internet, as they may need specialised hardware and software to navigate the web in their homes; which excludes them from web use when out. (Halford, S., Davies, H. and Dixon, J. (2017)).
In a study done by the Pew Research Centre it was found that 27% of adults living with disability in the U.S. are significantly less likely than adults without a disability to go online (54% vs. 81%). Further to this it was found that 2% of adults who had a disability so severe that it made it very difficult or impossible to use the internet at all.
Lastly, there are contextual differences such as gender, ethnicity, ideology, culture, relationships which influence the way in which we choose to use the internet. i.e Cyber bullying may affect a persons decision to use the internet.
I am lucky enough to have no disabilities and come from a middle class background – and so I have never had to deal with issues of internet use as discussed above. Unfortunately this is not the case for all people and so it is important that we discuss these issues to raise awareness of digital differences between people.
My comment on Tom’s blog linked here: (http://www.tjdav.me.uk/digital-differences-discovery/2018/02/20/)
- Halford, S., Davies, H. and Dixon, J. (2017). Digital differences – inequalities and online practices. [Online – Future Learn] Southampton: University of Southampton. Available at: https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/learning-network-age/4/steps/303344 [Accessed 22 Feb. 2018].
- Smith, A. and Zickuhr, K. (2012). Digital differences. Pew Internet and American Life Project; Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, Washington, D.C
- White, D. and Cornu, A. (2011). Visitors and Residents: A new typology for online engagement. [online] Firstmonday.org. Available at: http://firstmonday.org/article/view/3171/3049 [Accessed 20 Feb. 2018].
Word Count (exc. references): 293