Digital societies are composed of digital citizens, who all have different needs and uses for technology. Being able to use the internet and digital media effectively provides individuals with advantages in all areas of society. In a westernized world, access to these technologies is commonly taken for granted, as statistics show an estimated 62.9% of the global population own a mobile phone.
However, there are many barriers to digital inclusion which influence the development of digital societies. Access to technology or Wifi; which can be affected by economic status, location or age, create excluded populations of people who then lack accessibility to exclusive opportunities online. Such opportunities include job vacancies, health services and local economic development information. The “public sphere’, as referenced to by Pippa Norris, refers to the democratic divide between those who do and do not have access to the many political resources found online. Individuals without these opportunities consequently lose out on effectively using digital media to pursue their own political goals.
How economic status influences internet use
Besides from access-based difficulties, the issue of being able to utilise digital media technologies efficiently further effects the development of digital societies. There are multiple variables which prevent people from becoming digital citizens, such as having the motivation, skills and confidence. These skills are found in “Digital Natives” (Prensky), who are those who have grown up in a digital world, using technology from a younger age. “Digital immigrants” defines those who have not, and while they may accept technology, might feel unintuitive in approaching and joining the digital society.
The impact this has means the society is not fair and inclusive, creating marginalised populations. Therefore, this stunts the development of digital societies through the exclusion of such populations and their inability to contribute.