Digital Divide of Ages and Wealth 6
Digital divide is the gap between the people that don't know much about technology and the people that know a lot about technology. Digital divide does exist, and can be a big issue if one doesn't know a lot about technology. One can get scammed easily if they don't know what they are doing on the computer or could end up paying a lot of money if they don't know how to run their computer properly. There is a digital divide that can end up affect the one who know little about computers and in certain situation can be morally wrong.
II. Understanding the situation
In the United States there is a clear situation where the wealthier people have more access to technology than the poor. 86.3% of households earning $75,000 and above each year had internet access in late 2000 compared to only 12.7% of households earning less than $15,000 per year ("Bridging the Digital Divide"). Maybe the average house does not average $15,000 per a year, but it does raise concern to how much more knowledge about technology does the wealth have than the poor? With society going more towards technology and jobs relying on employee who know technology, poor people might have a harder time finding a job because of lack of technology knowledge.
When looking at the digital divide from an age stand point, one sees that in the United States 94% of 18-29 year old use the internet which is 10% more than any other age group. The next closes age group is 30-39 year old. The lowest group was 60 and older with 45% of them use the internet. The difference between the highest group and lowest is group is 49% which can cause a concern because technology and the use of the internet is starting to become more important every day. Some places have gone to paperless statements which mean that one can get via the internet. Technology is starting to become a part of everyday life. With there being such a big difference between, one could conclude that there is a difference in age and knowledge of technology. http://www.cyberpsychology.eu/view.php?cisloclanku=2007072401&article=%28search%20in%20Issues%29
Globally, 18-29 year old always had the highest internet use percentage. The lowest was age group was 60 and older. With this common trend, one is lead to think that the digital divide deals with when technology was introduced to the world. According to Anna Galacz and David Smahel, someone who is 60 year or old was born in 1946 or earlier. The internet was not around until the 90's which would make someone in that age group in their mid 40's or older. By the time technology started coming around most of them were close to retirement and probably found no reason to learn the new technology that was coming out. Most of the older people find that stuff they grow up with works, so why change what works.
Globally, the wealthier countries have a higher percentage of internet users than poor countries. According to the World wakes up to digital divide on the BBC website most of African countries percentage of internet users is under 1%. Some of the wealthier countries had percentages in the 80's. One could conclude that there is a gap of technology knowledge based on how wealthy the country is. If one live in a country that is wealthier, it is more likely that one is going to use the internet and have more technology knowledge. Thus the poor get poor and the wealthier get wealthier. For some poor people the problem with not becoming more intelligent is because they have nothing to learn from, and with the use of technology one can gain information from the internet to increase their intelligence.
The major problem with the digital divide is the difference in use of technology and the internet between age groups and wealth. The wealthier one is, the more access to technology one will have. The youth of this world use technology more, and can adapt to technology easier. With the growth of technology use and the capabilities of the internet, one can do a lot of good and harmful things to society. Some of the positives from technology are beneficial information, learning programs, pay bills, and more efficient way to run business. Some of the possible harm one can do on society is scamming, hacking, and the cost to repair certain items that one might have been capable of doing themselves. With the youth knowing more about technology, will the youth use it for good or will they use it for harm? With the difference of technology knowledge between the age group, will it because used to harm society? With the raise of these question because knowledge of technology, this paper will discuss the moral issues of the digital divide, and come to a moral conclusion on what is right.
III. Isolating the major ethical dilemma
When looking at the major problem of the digital divide, one has to be concerned with the gap between how much one know about technology and how much one know little about technology. The major ethical dilemma is how is one going to use the knowledge of technology, and how much harm will not knowing technology harm one. In a day and age that is going more toward technology, one, that knows little about technology, has to be concerned or is cautious with using technology. One that knows little about technology and the internet is concerned about the people that have more knowledge about technology, and is concerned about how one is going to use the knowledge they have learned. With this fear one is less likely to use the capabilities of technology just because of the fear they have for technology and the possible consequence of it. One could pay their bills on the internet and go paperless, but because they are afraid of identity theft, one will not pay their bills on the internet. With a little technology knowledge, one could overcome this fear. The digital divide gap provides fear to the ones that know little about technology.
According to Internet Crime Report, identity theft is not the top issue one should be concerned about. Identity theft on the internet is an issue, but is not the top internet scam. Some of the top ten internet scam could be prevented with the use of knowledge and commonsense. According to Internet Crime Report the top 10 most referred complaint are:
- Non-delivery 19.9%
- Identity Theft 14.1%
- Credit/Debit Card Fraud 10.4%
- Auction Fraud 10.3%
- Computer Damage 7.9%
- Miscellaneous Frauds 5.7%
- Advanced fee 4.8%
- Overpayment Fraud 4.5%
- FBI Scams 4.3%
- Spam 3.5%
Also according to the Internet Crime Report, the report of crime by age increase as the age increase except for 60 and over. The reason for that could be because not that many 60 and older people use computers and the internet.
With identifying some of the major harms one could face when using the technology, there are moral issues that one crosses when doing the harm actions. Some of the issues one crosses are they need money and it's a quick way to make money, taking advantage of someone who has little technology knowledge, and to show their intelligences. Some of the decision that is made is because one needs money and see a problem that needs to be fixed. Sometimes people charge reasonable prices, but for the most part when one takes a computer somewhere to get it fixed one is over charge for what they are getting fixed. Some people charge more because of the knowledge they have on the product that is asking to be fixed, and some people charge more just because of the lack of knowledge by the one who is asking for the fix. Computer is not the only place that the lack of knowledge is taken advantage of; cars are another place was a lack of knowledge is taken advantage of. The question that a raises is should one be able to pick their price to charge someone for the knowledge that they have learned? What is a reason price to charge someone for the knowledge one has learned? The problem with have knowledge of someone one tend to overcharge one for something simple or have one pay for something they did not need to pay for.
When one has more knowledge about a certain area, they tend to have different perception on what one should know about the topic. One that knows a lot about computer might expect one to know certain information that is simple to them, but maybe not to the one they are talking to. The issue that might rise from this is what information does one that have knowledge share with one that has little knowledge. Is it alright for one to withhold information from someone who has little knowledge? Most of the time when one goes to purchase technology, one is willing to answer the question the customer has in hope of them purchasing the product from their business. In that moment one is willing to share because it benefits them and the place they are employed. The real question is how willing is one to say "you don't really need to do that to your computer." The other problem is that some the things people pay for things that could be done at home, but they don't do it at home because they don't have enough knowledge to perform the task. Because of that, they take the computer or whatever technology device somewhere to someone to fix it for them. The question that is raised from that is what is a reasonable price for one to pay in order to have their computer or technology device fixed? That is one of the issues one faces when they have knowledge about something that the buyer doesn't have that much knowledge in. Were this can really raise issues is the difference in age and how much money one has.
One that is very young and knows a lot about technology might take advantage of that, and see it as a way of making money on the side. One that is older and does not have that much knowledge in technology might ask the younger person to help fix their computer or build them a computer. The younger person might charge the older person more money than need to because of their knowledge. The older person might not know if it was a reasonable price and pays the younger person the price they ask because of the knowledge they have about technology. The younger generation has grown up with technology and tends to know more about technology rather than the older generation which means that the older generation tends to look to the younger generation to get help with new technology.
Another moral issue that comes up with one that knows more about technology is should I use others service like internet because one does not know how to secure their internet. Should someone be able to go around town looking for unsecure internet, and use other service to do whatever they want? Just because someone does not how to secure information or internet does that make it right for one take the information or use the internet? Someone who lacks knowledge would not know how to prevent certain thinks from happening, because simply they might not know it is possible. The generation that has grown up with technology and knows a lot about technology tends to look for these issues and use them to their advantage.
Globally the issues is should poor countries go without technology just because they cannot afford it. If we suppose the poorer countries and give them technology will there be benefits in doing so? Could there be a potential for greater benefits? Should not wealthier countries support the poorer countries? These are some issues that are faced with a global digital divide.
IV. Analyzing the ethicality
One of the ethical models is act utilitarianism which is based on weighing the positive and negatives of the issue. This ethical model takes the positives and negatives of the situation and evaluates it to come up with an answer. Based on if there are more positives or more negatives is how one is suppose to say if it is morally correct or not. With the digital divide there are many issues one can observe. The act utilitarianism is a good model to use to measure some of the ethical issues raised from the digital divide.
One of the positive of the digital divide is that there will always be a demand for people who have technology knowledge. That means there is job security. There will be demand for people to fix the technology and come up with new technology. The will be competition between businesses to produce the best technology. There will be always be someone willing to pay someone who has technology knowledge. Since technology is becoming part of everyday life, one is more likely to go to college and study in technology fields. Those are just some of the positive of the digital divide.
One of the negatives of the digital divide are scamming people that do not know that much about technology. One of possibilities one faces when not know a lot about technology is one could be easily scammed. Someone with more knowledge might take advantage of the fact that someone does not a lot about technology which is wrong. The one that gets scammed will have to get a lawyer or someone of authority to help them recover what they lost. Therefore there is an unnecessary cost because one scammed someone.
Another negative of the digital divide is that fact of the cost for not knowing how to fix something simple. In this case someone with a lot of people with technology knowledge tend to charge a lot more than need to because of their knowledge. The one with little knowledge sometimes ends up paying the price because they do not know how to fix it themselves. The big reason for paying the price is because technology is a very big part of this world. Sometimes because of a lack of knowledge one ends up pays more than one should is not correct and a negative of the digital divide.
V. Making a decision
We leave in a day were there is a clear digital divide one reason is because when people were born and what they grew up around. Someone who is about 50 or older might not know that much about technology because technology was not popular when they were growing up. The reason that the younger generation knows so much about technology is because they have been using technology since grade school. Technology is a main part of schools today, and when someone who was about 50 years old or older went to school technology was not a big part of school. They might have seen some form of technology, but not like today. If someone who is 50 or older had grown up with some of the technology that today's youth see they might avoid some of the simple fix cost of technology.
When looking at the act utilitarianism model, one can conclude that the negative outweigh the positive. That means that it is wrong to take advantage of someone who lacks knowledge in technology. Just because someone does not know that much about technology that does not mean one can overcharge one to fix their computers or technology devices. This does not mean that one cannot charge one for their service. One should not overcharge for simple fixes or ones that do not take that much time. The biggest problem sometimes is trying to make the biggest profit possible with still getting customers. When one tries to get maximum profit they are being greedy. One should not worry about how much money they are going to make. They should price their service within reason and not overcharge someone because they do not how to do it themselves and do not know that much about technology.
Looking at it from a global perspective, poor countries might benefit from wealthier countries providing them with computers and other technology devices. The poor countries will become more stable and be more efficient. With providing the poor countries with technology, they might able to use the technology for good and help their countries to become stable. The wealthier countries should provide technology for poor countries, so they can become more efficient and use it to teach. The poor countries would benefit greatly from being able to use technology.
There is a digital divide because of age and the development of technology. The digital divide affects people that have a lack of technology knowledge because they are easily taken advantage of. It is up to someone who knows a lot about technology to not take advantage of someone who does not know that much. Globally, poor countries would benefit from wealthier countries providing them with modern technology because they would be more efficient and able to use the technology as a teaching tool. The digital divide is an issue that should not be taken lightly that affects both the elderly and the poor. Since there is a digital divide, it is up to the youth and wealthy to use it properly, and not take advantage of the elderly and poor.
"Bridging the Digital Divide". river deep. April 9 2010
Galcz, A., & Smahel, D. (2007). Information Society from a Comparative Perspective: Digital Divide and Social Effects of the Internet. Cyberpsychology: Journal of Psychosocial Research on Cyberspace, 1(1), article (search in Issues).
"Internet Crime Report". Internet Crime Complaint Center. April 9 2010
Wakefield, Jane. "World wakes up to digital divide". BBC. April 9 2010