Who gets left behind?

As we have explored in previous weeks, we are living in a digital age whereby technology is used within most aspects of our everyday lives. For example, this module is based fully on online interactivity. Whilst this is the norm for most of us, with the UK moving up on the connectivity table to eighth place, many developing countries do not have such advancements. Officials forecast that almost 40% of the world’s population would be online by the end of the year. However, this also still leaves 4.4 billion people offline.

The Powtoon I created below shares some of the reasons that the divide exists.

As a result of the above reasons, the digital divide has become a prominent ethical issue within business. As mentioned in last week’s blog post, 94% of recruiters use LinkedIn, an online social media platform, to search for candidates. Not having access to the internet, denies people the opportunity to be found. This reduces their chances of employability due to the heavy reliance of online professional profiles.

Remote working has been a further trend in the UK that disregards people without access to a computer or internet. One article shows that four million people in the UK already work from home, and officials only predict this number to increase. These people work via fully-connected virtual offices, meaning that meetings are now held over group video call. Once again, this group of people who are not connected at all are missing out on job opportunities despite being fully qualified.

new-piktochart_842_5e455729cf335dd2c6f062c8d163abf237b8b6c9.png

The Piktochart that I created above highlights how students without internet are affected negatively. In terms of education, the divide typically occurs due to low income. The fact that this divide can actually impact on a child’s education, grades and therefore future is a concerning matter. In the UK, the recent coalition government actually cut the Home Access scheme that was set up to help provide low-income families with a laptop (Boffey D, 2011). Therefore, it could easily be argued that the government is ethically responsible for those children at a disadvantage.

The digital divide is an ethical issue that impacts on both people’s employability and education. Whilst there can be a divide within the UK, there are larger gaps emerging across the globe. The majority of people have access to internet in our society, whether it be for free in the libraries or as broadband at home. People living in developing countries don’t even have this luxury and are getting left behind.

References:

Boffey, D. (2011) Children with internet access at home gain exam advantage, charity says. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/education/2011/may/21/children-internet-access-exam-advantage (Accessed: 21 November 2016).

Bown, J. (2016) The digital nomads making the world their office. Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-36382307 (Accessed: 23 November 2016).

Kelion, L. (2013) UK jumps up internet scoreboard as digital divide grows. Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-24426739 (Accessed: 21 November 2016).

Used for the Powtoon:

Express (2013) Disabled face ‘digital divide’. Available at: http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/430764/Disabled-face-digital-divide (Accessed: 22 November 2016).

Kelion, L. (2013) UK jumps up internet scoreboard as digital divide grows. Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-24426739 (Accessed: 21 November 2016).

Royal Geographical Society (2015) Digital divide in the UK. Available at: https://21stcenturychallenges.org/what-is-the-digital-divide/ (Accessed: 23 November 2016).

Wakefield, J. (2010) Old meets new in digital divide. Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-11501622 (Accessed: 23 November 2016).

Used for the Piktochart:
Boffey, D. (2011) Children with internet access at home gain exam advantage, charity says. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/education/2011/may/21/children-internet-access-exam-advantage (Accessed: 23 November 2016).
Long, C. (2016) The homework gap: The ‘cruelest part of the digital divide’. Available at: http://neatoday.org/2016/04/20/the-homework-gap/ (Accessed: 23 November 2016).
Monahan, R. (2014) What happens when kids don’t have Internet at home? Available at: http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2014/12/what-happens-when-kids-dont-have-internet-at-home/383680/ (Accessed: 22 November 2016).

 

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Published by

hannahbuckfield

I am currently a second year BSC Marketing student at the University of Southampton, with particular interest into online advertising and the role of the internet within businesses.

10 thoughts on “Who gets left behind?”

  1. Hello Hannah,

    I really enjoyed reading your blog, I was able to see the digital divide from a different angle. To your question I don’t actually know anyone who isn’t connected to the internet.

    With homework being set based around the web will cause concerns especially for those individuals who do not want to speak up because they feel they will be judged not having the internet. 1,000,000 children grades being affected is highly significant.

    What are your thoughts on cutting the home access scheme? Is this ethical? should it depend on the household who gets a laptop? even if they are given one who is to say the child will gain access at home? Through researching this topic did you discover any possible remedies or actions in place to help reduce this worrying statistic?

    Your post has made me appreciate the ease I have of accessing the internet.

    Nikhil

    Like

    1. Hi there, thankyou for your comment!
      I agree, 1,000,000 is a very large segment of the population and something should be done to resolve this problem.
      No, I don’t think cutting the home scheme is ethical. How are we expected to create an educated workforce when some children are lacking the same means the achieve good grades. However, I am also aware after my research that some people are ‘technophobes’ and would actually probably reject the laptop if given to them. Whilst giving a laptop to a household may not guarantee the child access at home, I think it is a good starting point. It gets rid of one expense for the family and they are able to use the laptop in free public wifi spaces.
      I didn’t really come across any solid solutions to this issue as it is impossible to force technology upon others if they do not want it. However, I do think perhaps there should be more standardised ‘homework clubs’ every night for children to use the schools internet facilities to complete their work under supervision.
      Hannah

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It is a pleasure.

        I completely agree that children should not be put at a disadvantage. I like the idea of homework clubs with access to computers overnight, it is something the school should look at if they know children do not have access to the web. Furthermore, as children get older they may be expected to visit the library but again is that unreasonable as transport may be a trouble. It is a hot topic and I agree the government should intervene and that it is unethical to remove the home scheme.

        I enjoyed engaging with you on this topic, I will be sure to view your post next week.

        Nikhil Anand

        Like

  2. Hi Hannah,
    Really loved your post! It was so visually creative and the structure was easy to follow, and your use of multimedia made for a very unique experience.

    Your points made in your PowToon were definitely ones that I agree with. You made the point that 94% of recruiters use online tools such as LinkedIn, and people without the internet (for example referencing to the link you made to Africa) would not have access to this. I question however if this necessarily matters in the ethical scheme of things, perhaps culturally or historically there is an alternative recruitment process that would work for the individuals in these said countries that work well for them.

    On the other hand I can’t dispute that there is a great digital divide across different age groups, countries etc, and access to the internet in schools or libraries isn’t as common around the globe as it may be for us in the UK. I liked your argument about the government cutting the Home Access scheme and therefore being part to blame for this ethical issue, but what then do you think then can be done to begin to close this gap and stop more people from being left behind?

    Overall, really engaging post that definitely challenged me to think outside of the box with a catchy title!

    Davina A

    Like

    1. Hi Davina,
      Thankyou so much for your lovely comment! I’m glad you enjoyed this weeks post. I agree, other countries within themselves probably won’t use online recruitment as the large proportion of applicants would be offline. I think that in the UK however, it is unfair on those people who do not have access to the internet frequently that they may be missing out on job opportunities as they are not on social media.
      I didn’t come across any resolution to the problem in my research, as in some cases I found that people feared the use of technology and it was their choice not to be online. However, I think in terms of educational purposes, school should designate a certain time of the day, either before or after school, where their facilities can be used by students to complete their homework. I think that this could help to reduce the gap that is shown amongst students grades, as they would be able to complete homework and research the same as every other student in the class.
      Hannah

      Like

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