Digital Divides

After reading Dana Boyd’s Inequality: Can Social Media Resolve Social Divisions?, from the article It’s complicated: The social lives of networked teens, I believe digital inequalities are very alive, and well.  I found it particularly interesting that it was thought that with the creation of technology would come the elimination of inequalities.  With the creation of technology though came the creation of endless platforms in which individuals can perpetuate their thoughts, and beliefs that they exercise offline.  This is a problem as these thoughts, and beliefs can be easily seen, and spread to large crowds.  It can also be good thing as people who are against inequalities can easily defuse these negative thoughts, and beliefs.  But then again there are cases, such as Alexandra Wallace, where defusing the situation turned into her receiving death threats, individuals wanting her to drop out of school, and then having to seek protection from enforcement (p. 163).

 

Offline thoughts, and beliefs are easily seen all over the Internet.  For me being enrolled as a student in Concurrent Education, and pursuing a career in teaching bullying is always a concern, and with the rise of technology so is cyber bullying; I often see offline behavior such as bullying being replicated online, and definitely more amplified.

For example being in placement I would often over hear students talking about what he, or she did/said online rather than witnessing bullying in the classroom, or during breaks such as lunch, or recess.  These online platforms allow for students to hide behind a screen, and give the feeling that they will not be caught.  In reality though this online bullying is much easier to track, but also allows for this bullying to be displayed on a much larger level mostly likely affecting the victim on a much larger level as well.

For example I think we all can recall the case of teenager Amanda Todd.  She was repeatedly cyber bullied online (along with offline), which resulted in her committing suicide.

 

In regards to the online class format I don’t think there is as much reinforcement of inequalities as there are on other online activities, but there is some.  For example I consider myself rather ‘tech savvy’ as I have grown up with technology, and owning technology, but even during this course I found I had some difficulties.  For someone growing up without technology, or owning technology because of their cultural, historical, or socioeconomic background this very much perpetuates offline inequalities.  I think the online format does also challenge inequalities though, because during this course we have all remained pretty anonymous; I am unsure of my class mates cultural, historical, or socioeconomic background.  This format allows for students to interact without a certain bias towards each other.

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