Thursday, June 01, 2006

Is the digital divide: NI’s new peace wall?

Some more observations from Ofcom’s 2005 survey of our media literacy across the UK.

Maybe the figures are no surprise given the lower average weekly income? But they cerainly point towards some people within a geoprahy experiencing a digital divide, perhaps at a range of levels.

Well, in an article the commentator Roger Darlington suggests:

The reason that low income households do not connect to the Net is not primarily economic. Such households typically spend more on digital television than it would cost to buy a cheap PC and an Internet subscription.

It is more a matter of culture: such households are headed by parents who often are less supportive of their children’s education than many middle-class households and such parents themselves are not naturally attracted to an overwhelmingly text-based medium.

It may be cultural, and it may be income related, but it makes a difference to real people in society.

As a child at school, you’re less likely to have a PC and internet at home to research your homework assignments. (Anecdotally, I know a family who send their kids around to the local library to access the internet.)

When does a technology become so pervasive that teachers will assume that everyone has access to it? Ignoring those who still have no way to engage and benefit.

Comments welcomed.


Jimmy Porter said...

I'm moving up to Stranmillis in a few weeks and I am seriously considering not bringing a TV just to see how long I can survive without it.

Would make an interesting experiment, most people say they never watch tv or would love to get rid of it, but never do.

Alan in Belfast (Alan Meban) said...

And will sell you a USB Digital TV tuner the size of a memory stick for £32 if you decided you couldn't live without it

Unknown said...

hi. I just across this site.It is being added to favourites. I am wondering how ireland would compare internet/tv and weekly income wise.I do not think the mean weekly income here would come near sterling 478.
And straight away I'm going to check out digital TV stick.thanks
Just by the way the word verification on this one is; phbnp?

Alan in Belfast (Alan Meban) said...

ComReg have some consumer/market data published on their website - I haven't had the time yet to take a wander through it and see if parallels and comparisons can be drawn to the NI/UK figures from Ofcom.

Do call back.