The Digital Divide

  • Rogers E
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Abstract

The digital divide represents an important social problem accompanying the diffusion of the internet in the USA, and in other nations. Theoretically, the digital divide is closely related to conceptualisations, and the considerable past research, on the knowledge gap hypothesis. The digital divide is the gap that exists between individuals advantaged by the internet and those individuals relatively disadvantaged by the internet. Here we synthesise available findings about socio-economic and other characteristics of individuals who are users and non-users of the internet, explore data about whether the digital divide is widening, and discuss strategies for bridging the digital divide. We suggest that the access-divide, which has received the most attention to date, may eventually be replaced by a learning- divide, a content-divide, and by other types of divides through which the internet will continue to advantage certain individuals, and disadvantage others.

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Authors

  • Everett M. Rogers

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