Digital Divide: Navigating the Digital Edge

Monday, November 24, 2014

Craig Watkins

University of Texas

In the United States many of the issues related to technology, equity, and diversity remain viable. However, by the close of the first decade of the new millennium the contours of the digital divide had shifted in noticeable ways. Much of the early reporting on the digital divide focused on household access to computers and the Internet (U.S. Department of Commerce 1995). Since 2000 the media environment of black and Latino youth, like that of young people in general, has evolved as a result of social, economic, cultural, and technological change. In its first national study of young people’s media environment, the Kaiser Family Foundation (Roberts et al. 1999) found that white youth were significantly more likely than black or Latino youth to live in households that owned computers with Internet access. Among youth 8–18 years old, 57% of white youth, 34% of black youth, and 25% of Latino youth lived in homes with Internet access. Consequently, black and Latino youth were less likely than their white counterparts to experience computer-mediated forms of communication, play, and learning from home. A decade later, the Kaiser Family Foundation (Rideout, Foehr, and Roberts 2010) revealed a dramatically different media ecology in the making.


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