The digital divide highlights both the dichotomy between those who have and those who do not in the Western world and also what separates emerging countries from the US as far as access, not just to technology but all sorts of things we take for granted. Until about a week ago, I did not realize people had more cell phones than toilets.Matt Damon Is On Strike Against The Toilet. Although that information was very surprising and disheartening, I chose to focus this week’s research on “Leapfrogging” the digital divide using mobile technology.
“Leapfrogging” is the idea that the gap between the haves and have nots can be leaped over by using the latest technology, and one of the fastest growing technologies is mobile. There are so many articles out there on the digital divide and mobile technology. One of the best videos I thought was Jan Chipchase: The anthropology of mobile phones– although the talk is a few years old, Chipchase shows not only how mobile phones can be used for talking but that mobile technology can provide banking and atms which I thought was pretty awesome. Also, more phones in emerging markets mean that people rely on them more, so the phones need to work, so when they break, people need them fixed, and repairing mobile phones had turned into a business.
The digital divide in the United States mobile technologies are helping those who may not have had previous access to the internet In U.S., Smartphones Are Helping Minorities Leapfrog Over the Digital Divide
The people in rural areas of the U.S. like my grandfather may not be able access broadband internet, but using their mobile phones, they can access the internet. Although providing access to the internet can help bridge the digital divide, people also need to know how to use what they can access, so while that divide is being leapfrogged over, information literacy needs to be taught as well, so once people have the technology, they know how to use it smartly (I would not want my grandfather to do his mobile banking using the Krystal in town’s wifi).