Countless studies and reports come out on a daily basis touting Latinos as the leading technology adopters – from mobile phones and devices to tablet computers. According to the latest Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project, 51 percent of Hispanics access the Internet via a mobile device, while only 33 percent of whites do. For those of us who live and breathe online, and are surrounded by the most digitally savvy Latinos in the US, these reports may make it seem like all is well in Latinos’ digital lives.
However, despite this seeming progress in closing the digital divide, there seems to be a huge pink elephant in our virtual room. Yes, the digital divide seems to be alive and well, and there’s no shortage of evidence: another Pew reports states that Latinos are less likely to have Internet access and to have a home broadband connection or cell phones; they also lag behind other ethnicities in home broadband access.
This is particularly upsetting to know, as the great majority of Latinos are already at the bottom rung of the job ladder. As the global economy continues to move into the realms of technology, it is imperative to find and implement initiatives that can bring Latinos into the 21st century and with the skills that can help them build a better future.
Tonight, let’s take a look at the situation and brainstorm about possible solutions, LATISM style!
- Is the digital divide over? Have we made any progress?
- Is the digital divide due the community’s level of digital literacy, to economic factors, or both?
- What kind of initiatives can be put into place to help solve this problem?
- How can we foster, support and help grow minority digital entrepreneurship?
- How can we make policymakers recognize the importance of supporting digital literacy for Latinos?