The Effects of the Knowledge Gap Among Inner-City Youth.
What is the knowledge gap hypothesis? The knowledge gap hypothesizes that people with more education and higher incomes will easily acquire more knowledge than those with less education and lower incomes, increasing the gap between the information-poor and the information-rich.
Who is affected by this knowledge gap? While technology has made it more detrimental for individuals to obtain computers, individuals with lower economic status are still being left behind. Most lower income individuals cannot afford computers; therefore, they do not have access to them. Current research indicates that despite success, technological education needs are not being fully met among the African-American and Latino inner-city youth community. People of higher socioeconomic status are more likely to be exposed to certain types of information. This resulted in them generally gaining more informative knowledge than people in a lower status. The knowledge-rich are getting richer and the knowledge-poor are getting poorer. Info campaigns might need to choose different media to reach different audience sectors.
In my research I have found five possible reasons for a knowledge gap. .
a. There is a difference in communication skills between those in high and low socioeconomic status - difference in education.
b. There is a difference in the amount of stored information or previously acquired background knowledge.
c. People of higher socioeconomic status might have more relevant social contact.
d. The mechanisms of selective exposure, acceptance, and retention might be operating.
e. The nature of the mass media system itself is geared toward people of higher socioeconomic status.
What is being done to close the knowledge gap? Computer clubhouses in the inner city aim to help the youth gain that type of technological fluency. These clubhouses are based not just on new technology but, on new ideas about learning and community.