COM22: Wk 2. Digital Divide

So the digital divide…


In Reading 2 Livingstone describes the ‘digital divide’ in terms of the impacts and obstacles it raises within the genre of internet studies. Livingstone states that “concerns over the gap between the digital (or internet) haves and have-nots have stimulated much debate and research on barriers to the supposed freedoms enabled by the internet” (2005, p.13). To what extent do you think the debate surrounding the ‘digital divide’ is still relevant, or are established limits (such as accessibility in accordance to wealth, geographical locations, cultural acceptance, etc.) becoming fixed?

Post by MR Michael Raciti

8 March 7:50pm EST

The term ‘Digital Divide’ was first used in 1996 by Simon Moores to define the socio-economic problem (Peña, 2008).  Livingstone (2005) describes the issue of ‘Digital Divide’ to still be evident today, albeit 16 years after Simon Moores highlighted the issue of a ‘Digital Divide’.

The digital divide is not a clear single gap that divides a society into two groups, but highlights the fact that based on your geographical location you may be unable to access the internet, which will cause the greatest impact on the education of the children of tomorrow.

Children will eventually need computers and internet in order to complete homework or be able to have the same advantages as the rest of the world. Financial and cultural issues played the biggest factors, which contributed to the huge gap in the digital divide (Peña, 2008) and as Livingstone (2005) emphasises that the world must be fair for all, I still believe that until the communities and governments accept and embrace the new technology the unfairness will unfortunately continue. And the children of the affected communities will be unfairly behind in regards to their education compared to the countries which emprise the internet and technology. 


Peña, I. (2008). Digital Divide. Unpeeling the layers of the digital divide: category thresholds and relationships within composite indices. 1 (1), 1 – 32.

Livingstone, S (2005). ‘Critical debates in internet studies: reflections on an emerging field’, in Curran, J & Gurevitch, M (eds) Mass Media and Society, 4th ed. London: Hodder Arnold, Chapter 1, pp. 9-28.

Response by KH Kimberly Hamilton

8 March 8:54pm

Hi Michael,

I agree that due to geographical locations, people and children of this generation may not have access to the internet, but I think that this is more a gap between developed and under developed countries.

Livingstone (2005) says that “The ´digital divide’ is conceived on all levels from the global, where it is primarily an economic phenomenon that distinguishes developed from developing countries, to the national level, where factors of geography, socio-economic status and ethnicity prove crucial, and the domestic level, where gender and generation stratify contexts of access and use.”

I agree that the ´digital divide’ is an economic phenomenon that distinguishes developed from developing countries but I don’t agree that it´s such a socio-economic issue within the developed world.

Most people living in the developed world irrelevant of demographics do and will have internet access whether it is at home or through the school system. As technology advances, schools are implementing it accordingly and even though it may not be 100% equal, majority of people in the developed world will have access and the opportunity to learn through this medium.

Livingstone, S (2005). ‘Critical debates in internet studies: reflections on an emerging field’, in Curran, J & Gurevitch, M (eds) Mass Media and Society, 4th ed. London: Hodder Arnold, Chapter 1, p 13.

Response by Me

9 March 12:11am

I think that Livingstone’s (2005) definition of the “Digital Divide” is outdated and needs to be more inclusive. Edutopia (2012) claim that while it is a still critical issue, it has developed new complex characteristics. And I feel this is a more accurate way of looking at the digital divide. Hertz (2011) explains that the digital divide definition of ten years ago is no longer applicable. She writes:

“If you ask most people to define the digital divide, most of them would answer that it has to do with those who have access to technology and those who don’t. Ten years ago, they would have been right. However, over the last ten years access to technology has become more and more ubiquitous. …The divide has shifted from an access issue to a kind of access divide.” [emphasis hers]

Her article talks about how while the internet is far more readily available now than a decade ago, the way we access has created new digital divides. She lists mobile devices as an example – those without smart phones now struggle with the digital divide over those who already use them. However, she also notes that while there have been minor changes to address the needs of disabled, blind and deaf internet users, this is one area where the original definition still seems to work.


Edutopia 2012, The Digital Divide: Resource Roundup, What works in Education: The George Lucas Educational Foundation, viewed 8 March 2012,

Hertz, MB 2011, A New Understanding of the Digital Divide, 8 March 2012, Blog,

Livingstone, S 2005, ‘Critical debates in internet studies: reflections on an emerging field’, in Curran, J & Gurevitch, M (eds), Mass media and society, 4th ed., Hodder Arnold, London, pp. 9-28.



2 thoughts on “COM22: Wk 2. Digital Divide

  1. Pingback: Five billion people can’t use the Internet « KnowCanDo

  2. Pingback: COM22: Week 5 « December @ University

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