Journal Article

Tackling the Digital Divide

Yu Cheung Wong, John Yat Chu Fung, Chi Kwong Law, Jolie Chi Yee Lam and Vincent Wan Ping Lee

in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 39, issue 4, pages 754-767
Published in print June 2009 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online March 2009 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjsw/bcp026
Tackling the Digital Divide

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The emergence of an information society has created new social exclusions and aggravated old ones by creating digital exclusion. Many countries have explicit policies about turning themselves into the leaders of such transformations or about catching up with the changes made in other countries. Nevertheless, little is known about their efforts to bridge the gap between the digital ‘haves’ and the digital ‘have-nots’. Governments in East Asia are good examples of those who work on improving their society's digital capabilities. They top most of the related international comparison tables. It is, however, not clear what they have done to bridge the new digital exclusion gap or what the effects of such efforts have been. This paper reviews the digital inclusion strategies put in place by several East Asian countries and discusses a framework for tackling the digital divide, and examines pertinent policies, using Hong Kong as an example. This paper argues that while improvement in information communication technology (ICT) accessibility and knowledge is important, the promotion of community-based ICT user networks for certain disadvantaged groups is crucial to enhance their participation in the information society.

Keywords: Digital divide; digital inclusion; East Asia

Journal Article.  5003 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

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