The Digital Divide – Week 4

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Many Australian’s live each day using technology without consciously thinking of the accessibility it has created for us. It seems almost impossible to imagine life without the latest digital technology now that it has become an integral part of our lives. However for the groups of Australian’s without access to this technology there is a divide that causes disadvantage.

This ‘digital divide’ within our country affects socially disadvantaged communities who are unable to afford internet access due to low income, rural communities with lack of resources and low communication accessibility, the disabled community and the older generations. These often isolated and  marginalised groups of people would benefit greatly from access to the internet, yet we have managed to leave them behind and create this huge divide that is likely to continue.

O’Leary (2012) states that 4 million Australian’s are not online he continues to provide evidence from a study by Swinburne University in 2011 claiming that “Indigenous households are 76% less likely to have access to the internet than non-Indigenous metropolitan households”. It is most concerning to know that disabled and elderly households without accessibility to the internet lack opportunities to be independent. For example tasks such as shopping online and easy access to medical information or support services is not available to them. It is ironic that the majority of Australians are able to reach people in all corners of the world but disadvantaged groups are often unable to reach people within our own country.

My digital poster above clearly and simply states the debilitating implementations this divide can cause.

 

Cyber Bullying and Facebook – Week 3

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Within this new age of technology, social media has boomed as a major form of communication for many teenagers. The common issue of cyber bullying is the increasing concern of the negative implications associated with this type of digital activity. It is defined by Shelly, Gunter & Gunter as the “posting or sending of detrimental or cruel text or images using the internet or other digital devices” (2012, p. 434).

This is the first generation that has been exposed to such technology since birth. Today’s teenagers are highly familiar with the technology, but this it does not mean they are capable of understanding security and well-being risks associated with their online activity. Many fall victims to cyber bullying as a result of their own ignorance from over sharing personal information and images and many are victims of people who seek pleasure in abusing others through the faceless acts of communication through a technological device.

Parental control within Facebook as a security control is important, but also limited as many teenagers are exposed to inappropriate images, videos, or texts whether they are able to contextualize it or not. As educators we need to have a firm grasp of the main mediums used as a vehicle for  cyber bullying. Within these, Facebook is notorious for its ability to over share information within minimal time and has few controls in relation to the censoring of material.

  • Shelly, G., Gunter, G., Gunter, R. (2012). Teachers Discovering Computers: Integrating Technology in a Connected World (7th ed.). Boston, USA: Course Technology, Cengage Learning.