The term ‘digital differences’ considers the inequalities and factors that affect one’s access to technology (FutureLearn, 2018). This consists of age, gender and more. The list does not stop here, showing the diversity of digital differences.
Individuals may choose to not use the Web, as they feel it is not relevant to their lifestyle. Often, those who have not been exposed to technology in early years will continue this trend (Zickuhr & Smith, 2012). Social exclusion is another matter, as lack of digital access leaves users at a disadvantage (Halford & Savage, 2010).
In my opinion, excluding digital use would be damaging, considering my main form of communication depends on digital applications.
Digital Differences & Factors
From research to entertainment, the Internet is a platform that provides users the ability to carry out tasks effectively. The rise of Internet use implies the popularity of digital practices (Ofcom, 2016), at work or at home.
Additionally, digital differences can have a positive effect on learning, exploiting the full potential of digital media (Lutz & Hoffmann, 2017). However, this is not representative for all users because, there are indirect factors which can affect the statistics. These can be identified as macro and personal factors.
Impact of Digital Differences
Investigating further into the topic of digital differences, I explored the impact that factors have on my digital differences.
I found that my digital usage was influenced mainly by my cultural background. Although I have a British nationality, my digital usage correlates with users from Hong Kong (KPMG, 2017). Perhaps this is influenced by my parents, who use mainstream Chinese applications.
I am glad that my digital differences are not heavily manipulated by these factors. I am provided with many digital opportunities, enriching my learning capabilities. This is reflected in the MOOC I am participating in.
Word Count: 303
FutureLearn. (2018). Page from Learning in the Network Age – University of Southampton. [online] Available at: https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/learning-network-age/4/steps/303344 [Accessed 20 Feb. 2018].
Digital Differences. (2018). Directed by C. Cheung. United Kingdom: PowToon. Available at: https://www.powtoon.com/embed/cLZvcPSUMZR/ [Accessed 21 Feb 2018]
Zickuhr, K. and Smith, A. (2012). PEW Internet. [online] PEW Internet and American Life Project. Available at: http://www.english.illinois.edu/-people-/faculty/debaron/482/482readings/PEW_Class.pdf [Accessed 20 Feb. 2018].
Halford, S. and Savage, M. (2010). RECONCEPTUALIZING DIGITAL SOCIAL INEQUALITY. Information, Communication & Society, [online] 13(7), pp.937-955. Available at: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/1369118X.2010.499956 [Accessed 20 Feb. 2018].
Ofcom. (2016). Section 5: Digital Media Take-Up and Use. [online] Available at: https://www.ofcom.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0019/102772/section-5-digital-media.pdf [Accessed 20 Feb. 2018].
Lutz, C. and Hoffmann, C. (2017). The dark side of online participation: exploring non-, passive and negative participation. Information, Communication & Society, [online] 20(6), pp.876-897. Available at: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/1369118X.2017.1293129?needAccess=true [Accessed 20 Feb. 2018].
Solon, O. (2017). Your browsing history may be up for sale soon. Here’s what you need to know. The Guardian. [online] Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/mar/28/internet-service-providers-sell-browsing-history-house-vote [Accessed 21 Feb. 2018].
Jones, C., Ramanau, R., Cross, S. and Healing, G. (2010). Net generation or Digital Natives: Is there a distinct new generation entering university?. Computers & Education, [online] 54(3), pp.722-732. Available at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360131509002620 [Accessed 21 Feb. 2018].
Martínez-Cantos, J. (2017). Digital skills gaps: A pending subject for gender digital inclusion in the European Union. European Journal of Communication, [online] 32(5), pp.419-438. Available at: http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0267323117718464 [Accessed 21 Feb. 2018].
Enoch, Y. and Soker, Z. (2006). Age, gender, ethnicity and the digital divide: university students’ use of web‐based instruction. Open Learning, [online] 21(2), pp.99-110. Available at: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/02680510600713045 [Accessed 21 Feb. 2018].
Campbell, J. (2017). China VS Hong Kong: One Country Two eCommerce Ecosystems | TongDigital. [online] Tong Digital. Available at: http://www.tongdigital.com/2017/12/06/china-vs-hong-kong-one-country-two-ecommerce-ecosystems/ [Accessed 21 Feb. 2018].
Nau, S.Z., 2017. From Understanding Net Generation Expectation to Sustainable Student Engagement. In Sustainability, Green IT and Education Strategies in the Twenty-first Century (pp. 63-76). Springer, Cham. Available at: https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-319-57070-9_4 [Accessed 21 Feb. 2018]
Lunceford, B. and Rockwell, S. (2017). Reconsidering the Net Generation: Putting the focus back on the technological landscape. Explorations in Media Ecology, [online] 16(1), pp.91-100. Available at: http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/intellect/eme/2017/00000016/00000001/art00008 [Accessed 21 Feb. 2018].
KPMG (2017). Outlook of E-Commerce in Hong Kong. [online] Hong Kong: KPMG, GS1, p.30. Available at: https://assets.kpmg.com/content/dam/kpmg/cn/pdf/en/2017/11/outlook-for-e-commerce-in-hong-kong.pdf [Accessed 21 Feb. 2018].