Beyond the Digital Divide: Rethinking digital inclusion for the 21st century
01 January 2007
This paper considers the reasons why the digital divide remains a complex and entrenched social problem. Firstly, there is a diverse and wide range of technologies which can be considered as ICTs – not just computers and the internet. Similarly, there is a diverse and wide range of activities for which ICTs can be used if individuals so choose – from learning and employment to leisure and entertainment. One of the primary challenges facing policy makers is to match the affordances of ICTs with the everyday needs, interests and desires of individuals. In this sense the digital divide continues to demand a complex set of policy responses which go far beyond simply increasing levels of hardware provision and support, and then assuming the ‘gap’ to have been ‘bridged’.