Social and economic issues relating to use of ICT

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Changing pattern of commerce and industry

Industry and commerce has changed due to the intro of ICT;

  • automated production lines: production lines are heavily computor controlled so fewer jobs. Robots used to assemble components, factories employ fewer people than use to and the people they employ are more highly skilled
  • more standard products - takes time and expensive to reconfigure roborts to assemble different products, therefore companies make standard products
  • automated stock control
  • internet shopping - reduces need for some stores to have an expensive high street presence, fewer staff needed and costs of electric, gas lower
  • creation of new industries - a whole new variety of jobs have been created due to ICT, call centres, online stores, web design companies
  • gloabalisation - cultural and social barriers that make countries different are being removed and the world is becoming more the same

Changing pattern of employment due to increased use of ICT:

  • size of business and workforce - office space not taken up with filing cabinets and desks, fewer people, not as large as used to be
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  • type of workforce - fewer but much more interesting and more skilled jobs are left
  • location of offices/manufacturing plant - working together is easy due to networks and other communication systems so organisations can have branches in many places, mostly abroad due to lower labour costs
  • different ways of working
  • different capabilities of people and computers - new ICT systems being created and people need to develop them

Changes in employment due to the introduction of ICT and networking technology:

  • training and retraining - changes to ICT systems that result in retraining include: new software, newhardware, nre laws, new ways of working
  • different ways of working - greater collaboration - easier for people to work collectivly on a project and transfer work between team members using networks, blurring of boundaries between work and play - peopel can do work at home because it is easy to access the data they need using the Internet, contactable at any time using mobiles, PDAs, laptops, fewer journeys to meetings - videoconferencing
  • homeworking/teleworking - people not restricted to where they live and organisations benefit becasue reduction in costs resulting from smaller offices
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  • mobile computing
  • flexible hours
  • job satisfaction
  • ease of tasks - tasks that would have taken hours to complete can be accomplished very quickly
  • increased unemployment - jobs that have disappeared are: filing clerks - many organisations use databses, factory workers replaced by robots, safer to use robots in some environments, packers uses machines now, typists - people use voice recognition system, stock takers, bank employees - cusotmers bank online, call centre staff - abroad as lower wage there
  • new jobs that have been created are network managers/administrators, website designers, development staff
  • monitoring employees at work
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Acceptable ICT use and responsible behaviour onlin

Unacceptable use of ICT:

  • Email flaming: communicating emotionally using email, can offend others, rude, inpolite
  • spam - unwanted emails that are usually advertising things you have no interest in, has to be deleted, can get spam filter traps the spam
  • intentional theft - copyright
  • plagiarism - taking other peoples work and then passing it off as your own, must acknowledge
  • corruption of information - deliberately damage data/information held

Responsible behaviour online:

  • dangers of disclosing personal information
  • not opening or forwarding emails/files from unknown sources - viruses
  • inappropriate use of webcam - paedophiles, terrorists to promote terrorism
  • not physically meeting people from chat rooms
  • prevention of cyber bullying: means using the Internet or mobile phones to harass or intimidate another person
  • checking websites have the correct URL
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Ethical guidelines:

  • misuse of images - stalkers, may recognise someone else in the picture and ask them for your details, image may be distorted causing ridicule or embarrassment, paedophiles may see it
  • making defamatory statements
  • phishing - tricking people into revealing their banking or credit card details, emails often contain links
  • scamming/fake websites - fake websites that look authentic but are not a real website, scamming websites are deliberately set up to part you from your money
  • avoiing accidentally sending viruses - forward email from unknown source
  • online bank card readers
  • uses of financial security procedures - use of encryption, user of user-IDs and passwords
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Effects of ICT

Social and personal effects of ICT:

  • effects on individuals: social networking sites allow keep in contact with friends
  • effects on organisations: employees might spend large amounts of time on social networking sites and that is why most organisations either block access to the sites or forbid employees from accessing the sites
  • effects on society: health problems, too little physical activity

Varations in computer access and ICT skills

  • problems poorer countries have with access to ICT - low levels of education and poor literacry make it hard for them to learn, lack of money, lack of English skills, restricted access to Internet, poor infrastructure, no reliable electricity


  • use of specialist input devices: braille keyboards are used to enter text into a computer and are used by blind or partially sighted people, voice recognition systems can be used to enable people to issue commands and use speech to enter data into word processing document
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  • features of software that allow it to be used by people with disabilities: consider people who are visually impaired having a facility to speak words on the screen, having a facility to zoom in the page, magnified, increasing font size, choosing those font types easy to read, use plenty of contrast between text and background, allowing user to change colour scheme. Hearing impairment using visual arnings, using typed versions of speech used, using subtitles for any video used

Sustainability and recycling:

  • Sustainability means only taking out the planet what we can without haveing any adverse environemntal effect
  • in supermarkets, more effiecient stock control has meant that food is not thrown away
  • control heating systems reducing fuel consumption
  • engine management systems decrease fuel onsumption
  • smart meters show how much electric used
  • teleworking reducing fuel consumption
  • administration electronically, no paperwork
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smart waste bins - empty cartridges are placed and when full, radio signal sent to office to tell them ready for recycling

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