Apple mania leaves me with a sour taste

Updated: 2011-07-26 09:35

By Kim Bowden (

  Comments() Print Mail Large Medium  Small 分享按钮 0

In my home town, Auckland, New Zealand, a local high school triggered an uproar last week after deciding iPads have become an unavoidable "must-have" teaching aid.

The latest iPad has been added to the compulsory stationery list for senior students, with school authorities arguing "it's the way things are moving".

However, critics have slammed the move, saying the device is not an affordable option for all parents.

The education spokesperson for the opposition Labour Party, Sue Moroney, said she was worried about the digital divide between those who could afford the latest gadgets and those who could not.

"I think what we've got to be careful of is that we don't end up with a two-tier education system where we put low-income families in a really embarrassing situation - one in which they can't provide their child with really expensive technology and therefore limit their education," she said.

New Zealand is not alone in grappling with such issues.

In March this year an international study showed there were global winners and losers in the so-called digital revolution.

The Digital Inclusion Index compiled by British risk analysis firm MapleCroft found that India along with sub-Saharan Africa was at “extreme risk” from a lack of “digital inclusion”.

In contrast, China was classified as being at “medium risk”, as were other BRIC economies Russia and Brazil, although still well behind those in developed economies.

However, within China there is an obvious trend of digital haves and have-nots between the country's urban and rural sectors.

In April 2010, the China Internet Network Information Center released their report on Chinese rural Internet development in 2009.

While 45 percent of the urban population is online, only 15 percent are in rural China. And the discrepancy is on the increase. In 2007 there was only a 20 percent difference in urban and rural Internet usage, but that grew to 24 percent in 2008 and 30 percent in 2009.

I don't want to be a party pooper, but I am concerned about Apple-mania.

The obvious digital divide worries me and, more so, people's heavy reliance on these gadgets in the course of their daily goings on.

I'll admit I use an old model Nokia hand phone, the numbers rubbed off the keypad, which my tech-savvy colleagues teasingly give me flak about, and my laptop is of the bulky, more difficult to lug around variety.

Perhaps I need to just get with the times, but frankly, I am not willing give up several week's wages, let alone a kidney, to get the latest digital toy.

Maybe I'm not so silly after all.

Kim Bowden hails from Auckland, New Zealand, where she recently completed AUT University's Postgraduate Journalism Diploma, top of her class.

   Previous Page 1 2 Next Page