Digital divide: we are not all connected

Every day we receive signs and evidence that we have improved living conditions when we reach old age with respect to the generations that preceded us. Today it is not an exceptional phenomenon that people can live 100 years, most likely due to a set of different causes that have been able to contribute to improving their lifestyle, such as the practice of physical activity or the cult of consuming healthy foods. . However, as far as the use of new technologies is concerned, there is an added difficulty in their learning by the population that was not born during the digital revolution with the creation of the Internet and that has caused the so-called “information gap” to arise. Digital”.

What is the digital gap?

The digital divide is the concept that is used to refer to the inequality in access and use of the Internet and ICT (Information and Communication Technologies) between different social groups and that are determined based on the geographical, economic, culture or age. Not all of us have the opportunity to live “connected”.

What are the causes of the digital divide?

The different characteristics of social groups already determine by themselves the causes of the existence of the digital divide, at the same time that they identify its different types. The economic digital divide is one of the main reasons why ICTs cannot be implemented in less developed countries where the main concern is survival. The difficulty of establishing infrastructures due to their geographical location, supposes another type: the geographical digital gap, for example, the circumstance that there are rural areas where there is no Internet connection.

But we want to focus on one type of gap in particular: the generational digital divide. As we have previously indicated, it is clear that, unlike young people who were already born with new technologies and are used to using them, older people do not feel entirely comfortable with their use. This would not be a problem if it were not that these new tools have become the basis for using most services, including health services and banking entities, essential in daily life.

A great difference in the use of ICT in the digital divide by age is demonstrated in the study of the use and equipment of ICT in homes during the year 2019, carried out by the National Institute of Statistics.

In the aforementioned study, it can be seen that the values ​​of the age range of 65 to 74 years, both men and women, show a much lower percentage of ICT use than the other age ranges.

An example of the digital divide in Spain is, without a doubt, the difficulties that groups that are not digital natives have to face in order to adapt to the new management processes implemented by the Public Administration or other businesses, such as banking. It is important to find a good balance between the digital transition and continuing to offer a good face-to-face service that adapts to the needs of all groups.


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