Reducing and Preventing Digital Discrimination: Digital Inclusion Strategies in Europe (Chapter)

Digital inclusion. An internationalMassimo Ragnedda (2018), Reducing and Preventing Digital Discrimination: Digital Inclusion Strategies in Europe, In Ragnedda, M., and Mutsvairo, B. (eds) Digital Inclusion. An International Comparative Analyses, London: Lexington Book, pp. 3-18.

Introduction

The advent of the Internet has brought changes to citizen’s lives, influencing the patterns and practices of everyday life. It is clear that the growth of the information society has revolutionized the way in which citizens work, learn and socialize. However, it seems that some scholars (Dyson 1997; Gilder 1990, 2000; Kelly 1998; Negroponte 1995; Toffler 1970, 1980; Turner 2006;) have often overemphasized the benefits and the positive aspects brought by new technologies of communication. These digital prophets, defined by Slouka (1995: 8) as techno-evangelists, have a hyper-positive vision of the Internet and see it as a panacea for all social issues. This position does not take into consideration issues related to unequal access and the use of digital technologies. For this reason, it is important to also analyse the obstacles and barriers that prevent individuals, and certain social groups, from accessing and properly using technologies. These obstacles are at the base of digital inequalities, both between different regions of the world and within wealthy and prosperous areas. There are, indeed, clear differences in terms of Internet usage and digital skills within the same area (Brandtzæg 2010; Selwyn 2004; Van Dijk 2005).

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