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Apr 16, 2020 / 11:09

From digital divide to social divide

Overcoming the digital divide is in fact overcoming the social divide.

Because of the spread and devastation of the coronavirus pandemic everywhere in the world, strong and unprecedented measures such as lockdown or social distancing have been imposed by many countries. Work from home, online learning and online communications are soaring worldwide. The internet is gaining more importance for the world than ever before. But this pandemic has revealed the problematic inequality in any society, more self-evident than ever before. It is the so-called Digital Divide or Digital Gap.

 Illustrative photo

It is surely a bitter irony of today's modern world that the internet has always been instrumental in advancing globalization and that the coronavirus pandemic took and is still taking advantage of globalization to spread over the world. In the time of this pandemic, all possible digital means are used by the states and people to fight against it and the internet proved itself as not only very helpful but also indispensable for the states and people everywhere.

But not everyone has internet access and the access and use of internet is not affordable for all. Because of deficient internet infrastructure. Because of poor internet proficiency to use it for one’s own benefit, education and work or just to be informed in time about how to deal with catastrophes and disasters like the coronavirus pandemic.

Therefore, this pandemic disclosed one more dangerous weakness of modern societies. The digital divide is not only a technical or technological gap but also a social one. It is one of the sources of the social inequality in all part of the world and social inequality leads to social and political instability and insecurity. The pandemic gave the internet and the digitization the unique opportunity to bring themselves into full play. But it also showed one more Achilles' heel of modern world societies.

One lesson drawn from this pandemic for the post-pandemic time will be the determination, priority and plans of actions to narrow this digital gap, to develop internet infrastructure and digital networks, to make the communications between the state and its people easier and more effective, timely and sufficient, to help more people access the internet and to take advantages from the achievements of the digitization. Overcoming the digital divide is in fact overcoming the social divide.

Disclaimer: The views expressed by Ambassador Tran Duc Mau are of his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Hanoitimes.