Digital Divide

Kerry Lau

While you are enjoying the fruit of modern technology, can you imagine that some people do not even have their own mobile phone?

Some people in society have effective access to digital and information technology. Technology has become an indispensable part of their lives. On the other hand, some cannot have access to technology so easily or even do not know how to operate a computer. Computers and other technological devices are regarded as luxuries to them. The term digital divide refers to the gap between these two groups of people.

The digital divide may widen the gap between the rich and the poor in terms of knowledge and wealth. In this knowledge-based world, the one that can acquire more knowledge is always the winner. Thus, poor people, who have little access to modern technology, always lag. If the situation does not improve, the gap will keep on widening. So, how can the digital divide be narrowed? 

Have you ever thought that mobile phone can help bridge the digital divide? Truly, mobile phones with just the simplest functions like sending SMS and calling others is already enough to improve the current situation. With these simple functions, information can be spread quickly.

Uganda is a typical example of how mobile phones help improve the lives of the poor. Since 2002, banana tree disease has been threatening the country’s crop yield. If this disease is not well-controlled, it will spread to other banana trees and farmers will incur huge losses. Thanks to the invention of mobile phones, experts can provide various agricultural tips to the farmers on how to cope with the banana disease problem easily through calling them. Just with a call, the farmers in Uganda can know where to get more fertile seeds. They can know where the disease has spread and stop cultivating on that area. Without advice from the experts, the farmers in remote areas may have their crops destroyed much more easily, especially if they do not know how to deal with different kinds of crop disease and in times of unstable weather.

To bridge the digital divide, the poor themselves play a crucial role. It is paramount to change the traditional thinking of people and try to make them accept new knowledge. The poor need to learn different technological skills. Only by being ready and willing to change can they really get out of the dark situation.

No one in society should be treated as of lower classes. People who live in impoverished countries/districts should have a chance to improve their standard of living. Technology can help all of us.

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