The digital divide: How small businesses can catch up with the big players
15 March 2023
The disparity in access to information technology that exists between various demographics is referred to as the digital divide. Access to IT can be unrestricted, adequate, or inadequate for these populations. The internet, computers, telephones, and televisions are all considered examples of information technology in this context. Any other gadgets related to information technology also fall into this category.
The ability of various populations to use the internet and various devices is also included in the digital divide. Globally, efforts to close this gap have been made by both public and private institutions.
There are numerous social, geographical, and economic factors that contribute to the digital divide. As a result, the cleave has a number of negative consequences for the affected population. Social and economic exclusion of the affected population are the most severe effects.
We are confronted with the difficult question of “how do we bridge the digital divide?” as societies. a threat that should be addressed by individuals, communities, nations, and the entire world. The following are some of the initiatives we need to take to close the digital divide under the aforementioned capacities:
- Increase digital literacy Our understanding of what digital literacy entails has been so narrow for so long. The majority of stakeholders, in essence, confuse digital literacy with computer literacy. The ability to use a computer, its software and hardware components, as well as the internet, is computer literacy.
- At the moment, there isn’t a single definition of digital literacy that everyone agrees on. However, the majority of organizations agree that computer, information, social media, and network literacy are all included.
- Understanding and applying digital literacy’s socioeconomic, cultural, political, and behavioral aspects. exhibiting good networked device knowledge, skill, attitude, and behavior. Additionally, having practical skills in both software and hardware.
- As a result, in order to close the digital divide, we need to enhance our digital literacy skills in accordance with the criteria listed above. Programs should be developed by societies to address the deficiencies that exist across all age groups.
- Provide operational incentives to entities that use information and communication technology There are a number of organizations that are putting in a lot of effort to close the digital divide. These endeavors are sometimes thwarted by existing laws and financial constraints. The burden that these institutions face is lessened by offering incentives. The current governments are especially responsible for this.
- A non-governmental organization that teaches small and medium-sized businesses how to incorporate computing into their operations is a good illustration. A well-intentioned government will contribute by reducing these organizations’ tax liabilities.
- As individuals and communities, it is simpler to learn and implement concepts that we can relate to and create content that is both relevant and local. Furthermore, how does this enable the digital divide to be bridged? The audience you’re trying to reach should be able to relate to the benefits of digital literacy.
- Consider the situation of a peasant farmer in a rural setting. How will his or her investment in various digital literacy skills affect them? What advantages does such a skill confer? How likely are they to improve her status and streamline her daily activities?
- The countryman or woman can discover ways to improve his or her farming with digital literacy. Better methods of tendering crops can be easily discovered by the farmer. These advantages include more than just finding a market for farm produce. Additionally, crop insurance will soon teach the farmer how to calculate risks. All of these benefits can only be used in a society that is digitally literate.
- Encourage the creation of cyber clubs. How can a cyber club help close the digital divide? Deprive yourself of a few luxuries that occasionally strain your financial resources. Encourage your companions, friends, and family to follow in your footsteps as well. Put all of the money you would have spent on luxuries into one account as a result. Then, these funds ought to be used to promote digital literacy. It could be for your children or to support any underprivileged community.
- In order to reduce the digital divide, more stakeholders in information and communication technology should form partnerships that are both productive and mutually beneficial. The various campaigns aimed at increasing digital literacy should be driven frequently and collaboratively by these institutions. In addition, the campaigns need to take into account every factor that is widening the digital divide. especially having access to and making good use of technology for communication.
- Promote innovations aimed at closing the digital divide If we want to quickly close the digital divide, we need to replace haphazard methods. For instance, in some developing nations, each fiber optic cable installation company digs its own tunnels. Internet service providers in other comparable nations regularly dig the same tunnel to lay their cables.
What would happen if these nations implemented a “dig once” policy? constructing individual tunnels that can accommodate any additional investments in the future. thereby lowering the price of expanding the reach of cyber networks.
If we promote new ways of doing business, we can close the digital divide worldwide.
Why is closing the digital divide so critical?
In a community, a technology used creatively makes a big difference. A citizenry can easily network, acquire new business concepts, and transact economically.
A given population can talk about things that affect them. Because only a small number of people are kept in the dark, they are able to make sound political decisions as a nation that will propel them toward success.
The next generation of students will learn more effectively because they will have easier access to and use of online learning resources.
Additionally, it is possible that the wealth gap will narrow. Particularly for the poor, better methods of self-empowerment will be learned. Bridging the digital divide has numerous advantages all together.