Reflection: Digital FOMO is a very real thing

Topic 4 discussed the breadth of ethical issues raised in the digital world. It demonstrates that the freedom exerted by the internet can also pose many issues.

ethical-issues

I focused upon the digital divide, and the ethical issues associated. As a geographer, the concept of the digital divide is not new to me, however it was interesting to see how the term had evolved, from once being the lack of internet (as learnt in GCSE), to differences in quality of access, and ability to utilise technology (Wiedor, 2012). This difference of definition in so few years demonstrates how quickly technology and access to technology evolves. It evidences that the digital divide is not disappearing but changing, it will remain an issue even when there is universal access to technology, this highlights the importance of the issue.

Tobie’s comment mentioned his digital FOMO when travelling. Previously I had not considered this topic as very relatable to me, however his comment highlighted the issues that I’ve faced from the digital divide. An example was my travelling to China, where Internet access is limited, and even when attainable is restricted due to censorship. This led to further questions of ethics related to internet censorship as it denies access to certain knowledge. Even when I was in China, it was hard to know what was going on back home, with no access to Google, Facebook, YouTube  etc.  Upon considering this I googled further into the issue and found this article by Brian (2013). This highlights the impediment of freedom of speech due to censorship.

Tom further questioned whether disconnect of technology could benefit groups. This was an interesting concept as there is often criticism of constant use of the internet. This graphic shows the negatives of the internet (Alfredo, 2012). Consideration of these negatives highlights how appropriate use of the internet is needed to reap the positives.

See my comments on Tobie and Chris’ blogs

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Digital FOMO is a very real thing

FOMO. The fear that if you miss a party or event you will miss out on something great.” (Urban dictionary, 2016)

FOMO is something I’m sure has been experienced by everyone. Often it is the case that you perceive to be missing out on something great, but this may not be the reality.

Now imagine the level of FOMO that is experienced from people who lack internet access. Is this fear realistic, or is it simply perceived?

Living in the developing world, often the matter of the digital divide is forgotten. Lack of Internet is a persisting issue, with 60% of the world’s population forecasted to be left offline by the end of 2013 (Kelion, 2013).

The graphic below relates to the Digital Divide, defined as “The Existence of gaps in society between those who use technology and those who don’t” (Ball, 2011, p. 56)

new-piktochart_836_ec89211a9721948f8d8d6f9159a719398d929240

(Image created by me)

This video outlines the reasoning behind the Digital Divide, and how the term has evolved over time

(Video created by me)

So the question poses, do people who lack internet access miss out in reality?

Knight (2012) outlines how differences in access can lead to differing views of inclusion and exclusion – the issue of exclusion being unethical. He further discusses how it can hinder chances of employment and education (ibid.)

With regards to education, even the term FOMO, would people who lack internet access know this term? This shows the realm of knowledge  that those who lack internet access are missing. This relates to Topic 1, which discussed the benefits of social learning.

In Topic 3 I highlighted the prevalence of social recruiting. Further emphasising this, 80% of Fortune companies post job applications online only (Furlong, 2014)- leaving those who lack internet access fewer opportunities for employment. Adults who lack computer skills to further their application and build upon job skills are marginalised within the employment sector (ibid.). 50% of today’s jobs require technology skills, such as basic Microsoft skills (ibid.) – people lacking these miss employment opportunities, and fail to move out of their lower class.

The issue of exclusion is not the most prominent ethical issue, especially when contesting against issues of identity theft, as discussed in Kleinman’s article (2015), or lack of privacy as exemplified by Greenwald’s video (2014). However, its importance is depicted by the repercussions it has on people’s lives. It results in lack of ability to escape social class, social class being the issue that leads them to being losers of the digital divide in the first place.

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