Advantages and disadvantages of ICT

ICT are Information and Communication Technologies. That is, they are all the devices created to store, transmit, receive and send information combining telephone, audiovisual and computer networks. For example, a mobile phone, a computer, a television, etc.

The advantages and disadvantages of ICT are related to the ability to access them and the use made of them. A group of children from a remote community can benefit from the use of ICT by taking online classes. On the contrary, a person who has access to a computer and uses it to spread false news , is misusing information and communication technologies.

This means that ICTs are not good or bad in themselves. They are part of the technological evolution of society and it is the users who use them beneficially or not.

ICT advantagesDisadvantages of ICT
In education
  • Access to various sources of information.
  • Real-time communication.
  • Greater interaction.
  • Development of new skills outside the official curriculum.
  • Personalized learning.
  • Risk of inequality and exclusion.
  • They can be a source of distraction.
  • Access to low-quality information.
  • Manual skills decrease.
In society
  • Democratization of access to information.
  • Optimization of bureaucratic procedures.
  • Access to products and services without geographical limits.
  • Access to new technologies at affordable prices.
  • Danger of exposure of personal data.
  • Access to false information.
  • Exclusion and inequity.
In companies
  • Efficiency in decision making.
  • New work modalities.
  • New growth opportunities
  • Reduction of jobs.
  • Risk of cyber attacks.
In the home
  • They promote intra-family communication.
  • They allow access to education and work.
  • Less family interaction.
  • Exposure to inappropriate content.

ICT advantages

Information and communication technologies can promote access to knowledge, the development of new skills or other benefits in different fields, as explained below.

In education

1. Access to various sources of information

Information technologies allow students to access knowledge instantly and in multiple formats.

Today, a student can have access to various sources of information in written, audio or video form. Similarly, educational content becomes increasingly interactive to stimulate user participation. For example, with exercises that can be done from a web page, maps in 3D format, representations of historical events in augmented reality, carousels of images on social networks to explain concepts, etc.

2. Real-time communication

One of the advantages of ICT in education is that students and teachers can be in contact in real time regardless of their geographical location.

This is especially advantageous in situations that prevent or limit face-to-face classes, such as pandemics, natural disasters or everyday events.

In this way, ICTs contribute to reducing absences by teachers or students and have a positive impact on the fulfillment of the academic goals of educational institutions.

3. Greater interaction

Information technologies facilitate interaction between students and users from all over the world, leaving behind geographical barriers.

This allows them to get in touch with other living sources (teachers, mentors, specialists, authors) or with other peers with whom they can share the educational process.

An example is online language courses , which facilitate interaction with students from different countries who teach their native language to their peers and at the same time learn a new language.

4. Development of new skills outside the official curriculum

One of the great advantages of ICT in education is that it allows the acquisition of knowledge and skills that are not included in official educational plans.

Thus, today anyone with access to ICT can be trained in the most diverse areas, either self-taught or guided by a specialist.

For example, a child can learn programming, a high school student can learn about personal finance, an accountant can take online Japanese classes, and so on.

5. Personalized learning

ICTs allow those who want to use them for educational purposes to learn what interests them at their own pace. Nowadays it is possible to find video tutorials that, when recorded, can be seen as many times as necessary.

In fact, many online course platforms allow students to have access to classes permanently, which allows them to consult the contents without time limitations to pass the course.

In society

6. Democratization of access to information

ICTs have made information accessible to all who have access to these technologies.

For centuries, access to information was limited to economic or political elites, who could pay to access it and were also those who could read and write.

Later, the media made information have a massive reach, and the arrival of the internet and information technologies only expanded the possibility that anyone with a minimum of requirements could access any type of information immediately and in new formats.

7. Optimization of bureaucratic procedures

Today it is common for many government procedures to be done online. And this is possible thanks to information and communication technologies.

In many countries it is possible to pay taxes, open a bank account and even process an identity document from your cell phone or computer. This implies a reduction of administrative tasks in public and private organizations, and allows a better management of the human resources of these institutions.

At the same time, managing procedures online means saving time and effort for citizens.

8. Access to products and services without geographical limits

An advantage of ICT in society is that it has facilitated access to goods and services that were previously inaccessible due to distance or geographical barriers.

Today, anyone with the resources available can choose from their phone a product or service that is anywhere in the world (as long as it is available for the destination country).

This has multiple applications, such as studying a postgraduate degree at a distance at a foreign university, having a consultation with a doctor from another country or attending an online concert, among others.

9. Access to new technologies at increasingly accessible prices

As time goes by, technology becomes more economical. This makes ICT much more accessible now than it was a couple of decades ago and that the trend will continue in the future.

Let’s think for a moment how much a laptop cost 10 years ago or a data plan for a cell phone. As time goes by, technologies are being perfected, costs are getting cheaper and this means that more and more people have access to ICT, with all the benefits that it implies.

In companies

10. Efficiency in decision making

Information technologies allow access to information and data in real time and this has a positive impact on the management of the organization. Today, a company can have all its data in the cloud and access it at any time. This makes it possible to solve eventualities efficiently and with less expenditure of time and resources.

An example is the systems that allow to manage the payroll of the employees. If a payment error occurs, this can be detected and resolved in a matter of minutes.

11. Implementation of new work modalities

Thanks to information technologies, it has been possible to explore other work modalities that do not require the presence of employees or collaborators.

Video calls, project management platforms and other tools allow remote work temporarily or permanently. This reduces company expenses (savings in electricity, water, office supplies) and for many workers it means savings in transportation and the possibility of spending more time at home.

12. New growth opportunities

ICTs have allowed the development of new lines of business, products or services in traditional companies. This favors the growth of the company itself, but also creates new jobs and business opportunities.

For example, a company dedicated to the manufacture of fabrics can use ICT to offer its products online and open up to new national and international markets in a much faster and easier way.

In the home

13. Facilitate intra-family communication

When information technologies are used in the home, they can facilitate communication between family members who are physically distant.

This immediacy and closeness offered by new communication systems when combining text, audio and video, can have a positive impact on the creation and maintenance of affective bonds.

Take, for example, older people who can communicate with their children or grandchildren through a video call, even though they are geographically distant from each other.

14. Allow access to education and work

ICTs allow family members to carry out their educational, work and even recreational activities without leaving home.

The new work methods and distance classes favor the permanence of children, young people and adults at home. In many cases, this represents the possibility of further bonding and the possibility of sharing more quality family time.

See also:

Disadvantages of ICT

The inappropriate use or lack of access to information technologies can generate greater social inequality, exposure of personal data or isolation, as explained below.

In education

1. Risk of inequality and exclusion

One of the most notorious disadvantages of ICT is that they can be a cause of inequality and exclusion in the educational field, since it is necessary to have the internet and certain types of devices to take advantage of all its advantages. Therefore, it is difficult for people without these resources to have access to education.

In extreme poverty settings, this can mean that children and young people are left out of the education system. By not having the resources to access classes or to search for information, they are much more likely to drop out of school.

2. They can be a source of distraction

Although the use of ICT can be a useful resource to access knowledge, its excessive use can become a distraction that takes students away from their educational goals.

Social networks and online games are just two ways that children, young people and adults entertain themselves using ICT, which can interfere with their study time and academic performance.

3. Access to low-quality information

Although ICT can put us in touch with a lot of information from all over the world, this does not mean that all this content is truthful or verified by experts.

In fact, information technologies are a medium for the spread of false or unverified information, and this can lower the quality of online education.

For example, a child finds content that states that the Sun is a planet (it is a star, actually). Although this information is very easy to deny, not all students can recognize when information is true, so they may be exposed to incorrect or inappropriate content for their academic training.

4. Decreased manual skills

Continuous use of the smartphone, computer, laptop or tablet makes manual skills such as handwriting or drawing unnecessary today.

However, handwriting is very helpful in early childhood to help develop hand-eye coordination, also known as fine motor skills. While activities such as drawing, painting or cutting help create and refine manual skills and stimulate creativity.

Therefore, the substitution of this type of activities could stimulate the decrease of manual skills that are useful and necessary for the integral development of children.

In society

5. Danger of exposure of personal data

A potential disadvantage of ICT is that its misuse can expose users’ personal data. This can happen through online scams or deceptions, or because users share their data indiscriminately on the internet, such as when they upload photos of their identity documents, invoices or credit cards on their social networks, for example.

This can have serious consequences for the user, such as theft of their identity, theft of social network accounts, access to bank accounts or sensitive data.

6. Access to false information

ICTs are a tool for those who are dedicated to creating and spreading false news, also known as fake news .

Fake news is created for many purposes, one of them is to generate profitability on websites (since the more people click on the information, the more money the page in question makes). They are also used to discredit public figures or organizations, either by distributing incorrect or manipulated information.

The news fake may have a negative impact on society when large numbers of people take them as true. An example of this are electoral campaigns in which this type of strategy is used to disqualify the opposing candidate and generate distrust in the voters.

Another example is information that casts doubt on the efficacy of certain medications, vaccines or medical treatments, which can put public health at risk.

7. Exclusion and inequity

When citizens do not have access to ICTs, they can be left out of government solutions designed for those who have this type of technology at their fingertips. This can generate inequity, since although public policies are designed for all people, not all will have access to them.

For example, if a vaccination campaign requires registration in a mobile application, people who do not have a smartphone or who do not know how to use it will not be able to access this benefit.

In companies

8. Reduction of jobs

The automation of processes promoted by the use of ICT is causing many job profiles to disappear. This can leave many people unemployed, especially if they are non-specialized profiles.

A case of this type is that of jobs that have to do with customer service. Today, many companies are betting on the use of artificial intelligence or chatbots (robots that answer chats automatically). This makes it less and less necessary for companies to hire personnel to do these tasks, generating unemployment.

9. Risk of cyber attacks

The automated processes of companies as well as their online information can be compromised by third parties, either to steal important information (formulas, plans, patents, etc.) or to request a reward for the recovery of hacked data or devices.

While it is true that today the ICT applied to organizations are quite sophisticated and have high levels of security, cyberattacks are always a latent risk. For this reason, many companies invest a significant part of their budget in digital security and in the constant updating of the different software they use.

In the home

10. Decreased family interaction

When members of the family nucleus make a disproportionate use of ICTs, they can stimulate isolation within the home.

It is very common that although a family lives in the same house, its members interact very little on a daily basis, since each of them is using their devices to communicate, inform themselves, work or entertain themselves.

This type of situation can be detrimental to the maintenance of healthy bonds within the family and encourages the physical and emotional distancing of its members.

11. Risk of exposure to inappropriate content

If minors have access to ICT and do not have any kind of surveillance from their parents or guardians, they may have access to content that is not suitable for their age.

This type of situation can be avoided or reduced by filtering the content to which children and young people have access. Many digital platforms have parental control systems to regulate access to content not suitable for minors. But the reality is that many adults are unaware of these tools or simply do not use them.

This can put the emotional and even physical integrity of minors at risk. Therefore, adults must be attentive to the type of content used by children and young people in the family, as well as the platforms they use to access said content.

See also Advantages and disadvantages of the internet

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *