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Closing Digital Divide, Expanding Digital Literacy

June 30, 2011

Below is an excerpt from an interesting interview between Tony Cox of NPR and S.Craig Watkins, professor at the University of Texas –Austin, who studies the social and digital media behavior of young people.

COX: …. Let’s define terms. When we say digital divide, what exactly do we mean and who are we talking about?

WATKINS: That’s a great question. You know, I think about 15 years ago when we used the term digital divide, we were talking largely about the question or the concern around access to technology. Fast forward about 10 or 15 years later to 2011, and now when we talk about it, I think it’s less about access to technology and more about participation. That is, the quality of engagement, what people are now doing with the technology that they have access to.

COX: You have commented before on reports about media use among minority youth. Reports that say they use media, for example, on average 13 hours a day. Thirteen. First of all, that’s a startling amount of time. Does that capture all media? Being online, being on cell phones, or what?

WATKINS: You know, I think the study that you’re alluding to, which was published I think about a year or so ago, but it deals primarily with just a combination of different types of media platforms: TV, music media, print, video games, online media. And increasingly, you know, we know that mobile is becoming more and more part of young people’s media time as well…More


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