Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Internet Divisions Among Participants

        Wessell details on exclusion vs inclusion in the internet sphere, which creates a digital divide.  Access is a major issue in terms of who uses the internet, which furthers the divide.  The inequalities noted, such as those of different races and ages prove interesting.  Wessell notes that 26% of Americans aged 65 and older go online, compared with 67% of those 50-64, 80% of those aged 30-49 and 84% of those aged 18-29" (Wessell 111).

        I find this figure particularly interesting.  As a college student who falls into the 18-29 category, I think that it would be virtually impossible to exist in this day and age without using the internet, yet 11% of my peers do.  Additionally, I find the figure of only 26% of older Americans using the internet to be fascinating.  My grandmother spends all day on the internet, yet she is very unaware of many aspects of the Internet and technological advancements.  She uses dial up still, but the internet is as much a part of her life as it is mine.

      Wessell's comments on internet use in different countries is also interesting.  I am studying abroad in Paris next semester and have been informed that Wifi is much more difficult to find.  In America, people spend hours sitting on the computer, wasting time, and I am eager to be in a place where citizens are using their time more wisely, and exploring life outside of the Internet.  I find Wessell's claim that "the internet is therefore seen as contributing to a young person's social and cultural capital" (117) to not necessarily be true, especially as people in places that are a bit more cultured do not use the Internet as much.


  1. Now we can all be thoroughly envious that you will be spending your next semester abroad in Paris (by the way, I tell all my students that if they can manage such a thing, it is life-changing and very character-building to live in a foreign country for at least 2-3 months, if not longer)! I like that you mention the differences in wi-fi coverage between countries, as I think that may be a new form of digital divide--those with the power of mobile Internet access, and those without. Suddenly home broadband doesn't seem like everything.

  2. I spent last fall in Japan, where, despite the country's reputation as a technologically advanced country, there is almost no wifi access. This is because phone companies that provide 3G and 4G services have restricted the growth of wifi. Interestingly, this meant that a lot less people had laptops (even on campus). On the other hand, since most students and Japanese people in general commute long distances by train, a lot of people were on their smart phones. In Japan, the digital divide was different in that a lot people had smart phones but did not have laptops. Also, almost every single person on the train had their smart phones out, except for the elderly. This new digital divide is definitely shaped by the political and cultural norms and regulations of the country.