Digital Inequalities Week 10

My thoughts on digital inequalities are a growing concern because people will be able to technology and become digitally ‘savvy’, but others might not be left behind. Although studies suggest that young adults are not considered to be technologically ‘savvy’ just because they have the technology and grew up with it while others do not have that same luxury, they have the power to use it.

One of the examples that digital inequalities is affecting is our education and Henry Jenkins (2013) points out “digital media also threaten to exacerbate growing inequalities in education. Progressive digital media users…are a privileged minority. There is also a growing gap between the progressive use of digital media outside of the classroom, and the no-frills offerings of most public schools that educate our most vulnerable populations” (Jenkins, H. 2013). It shows that people who are excluded from these practices might not develop the skills to someone who has technology. Children might not have that same passion and commitment in pursuing their dreams without technology. When exposed to seeing technology on the television screens, more kids would want to have it, and the results are showing up today.

Rosenberg critiques Danah boyd on the battle between Myspace and Facebook, which shows the representations of the divide in our society. Rosenberg writes “According to boyd, Facebook’s clean interface and Ivy League origins have made it home for the collegiate set, where Myspace’s anarchies graphics and pop-music focus orient it more forward “alternative” kids, minorities, dropouts and outcasts” (Rosenberg, S. 2007). This comparison is basic bullying to me. Facebook is the high school jock and Myspace might be the nerd, or the international student. Anything can apply to what is considered “alternative” because they do not meet up to the elite standard. What makes it hard today kids, especially the unprivileged is the division in their online interaction. To find out who they are as a person is a challenge today because they are exposed to subgroups and could affect their decision making.

This is a concern, especially towards children because they can be exposed to cyber-bullying. It gives bullies an easier way to bully kids and expose them on a wider scale. Rather than effect kids now physically, it can mentally effect their state of mind, which can result to suicide. One example being Amanda Todd, who was cyber bullied for expressing herself online, and was bullied to the point of suicide.

An example that might amplify social divisions is through ethnic backgrounds. Society has been used to racism now, but online activity amplifies it because it’s not censored. Recently, there was a Youtube video in Buffalo of a white middle aged women swearing and screaming racist remarks against a black men in his truck recording the whole thing, and it escalated to the point that cops almost got involved. This happens on all social media platforms as well but not as lethal to this example.

One of the ways Hargittai and Boyd’s findings can reinforce or challenge inequalities are the people who might be shy in a classroom. Having an online class now can help these kids who struggle to express themselves in the classroom. Another way these findings can help inequalities is information. Having an online world can challenge inequalities in our justice system and will find the truth we need.

As mentioned earlier, racism is seen more often on the online world and happens more often now, it can be treated now correctly. “By increasing the visibility of individuals and their actions, social media doesn’t simply shine a spotlight on the problemactic actions; it enables people to identify and harass others in a very public way. Thus in turn, reinforces social divisions that plague American society”. (Boyd, D. 2014, p.163).

In conclusion, digital inequalities will continue to exist unless we find ways to challenge social divisions. Some can be handled with but others still exist and continue to threat the way we live. Both articles do provide findings that can be used to show the effects of the online world to us and creates a spotlight on the issues that have existed now for decades. I feel as though that if we educate our kids properly, it can help go a long way in these inequalities.

Reference
Boyd, D. (2014) “ Inequality: Can Social Media Resolve Social Divisions? ” It’s
complicated: The social lives of networked teens. New Haven & London: Yale University Press, 2014. 153-175.

Jenkins, H. (2013) What’s all the fuss about connected learning? Confessions of an Aca-fan.
The official weblog of Henry Jenkins. Retrieved on July 9th, 2014 from http://henryjenkins.org/2013/01/whats-all-the-fuss-about-connected-learning.html

Rosenberg, S (2007) The Facebook/Myspace class war. The Wordyard project.
Retrieved on July 9th, 2014 from http://www.wordyard.com/2007/06/28/facebook-myspace/

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