Digital divides in remote Aboriginal communities

The dilemma of the digital divide is seen as something that is having a gradually larger impact on Indigenous Australians in rural communities.”The dispersed and remote nature of these communities means that residents face substantial difficulties conducting even simple transactions.” (Rennie et al. 2016 p. 22). This quote explains how it becomes harder to go about their daily routines in aspects such as communicating with friends and families, education, financial concerns and government concerns such as centrelink and medicare. With rural communities having these issues this shows how digital literacy is needed in order to make life easier and more sustainable for people in even the most rural and traditional areas across the world. The digital divide is something that is able to show the benefits and hindrances that come with being digitally literate.

(Taylor & Biddle 2008) presents the idea that digital inclusion and the improvement of digital literacy in rural towns and areas in Australia can contribute to overcoming the barrier that these areas have in education, government and finance fields. This can ultimately improve their areas and towns along equipping their youth with better skills to be able to leave those communities and migrate to cities and larger towns and be able to join the workforce or study comfortably. This relates back to showing the effects of not being entirely digitally literate compared to the cities in the country and what it does to a group of people in terms of the inconvenience it holds.

Three young Aboriginal people learning how to use a touch screen appliance
(Dukes, 2015)

This issue of digital inclusion raised in (Thompson et al. 2014) shows how rural and Indigenous communities demonstrate how certain people who rely on their traditions and customs may be of different beliefs and opinions when it comes to the amount of digital inclusion that they want or need in their lives as they may see it as useless or not be of much significance. This explores how communities in rural areas of Australia may want their inclusion to being digitally literate a slow and gradual one rather than having a large amount of technology and communication programs thrusted upon them in a small space of time and need the adequate training with the technology rather than just the technology itself.

Looking at statistics concerning these rural communities use of internet and laptops, we can see that in these communities the use of digital literacy is differently perceived depending on the person and their upbringing along with their values and beliefs as they influence the community and it’s people as to how they want to connect and integrate digital literacy into their society.

References:

Thompson, K., Jaeger, P., Taylor, N., Subramaniam, M. and Bertot, J. (2014). Digital literacy and digital inclusion. Ipswich, Massachusetts: Lanham Rowman &​ Littlefield.

Taylor, J. and Biddle, N. (2008). Locations of Indigenous population change. Canberra: Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research, Australian National University.

Kuttan, A. and Peters, L. (2003). From digital divide to digital opportunity. Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow Education.

Rennie, E., Hogan, E., Gregory, R., Crouch, A., Wright, A. & Thomas, J. (2016). Internet on the outstation: the digital divide and remote Aboriginal communities. Institute of Network Cultures, Amsterdam.

Dukes, K. 2015, ‘Bridging the digital divide in Indigenous communities’, 5 February, viewed 29 August 2017, <http://www.theage.com.au/national/education/voice/bridging-the-digital-divide-in-indigenous-communities-20150205-3pjfp.html>.

 

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