But the Internet causes polarization in developed countries, too: people are divided into Internet users and Internet illiterates, and as the use of the Internet grows and often replaces traditional methods of communication, the illiterates may find themselves in an awkward position. In general, it is easy to learn to use Internet services. The worst problems of Internet illiteracy are, in addition to lack of economical resources of course, wrong attitudes. Older people are usually not accustomed to live in a world of continuous and rapid change, and they may not realize the importance of the Internet or the easiness of learning to use it.
But although Internet services themselves are, generally speaking, easy to learn and use, you will find yourself isolated on the Internet if you are not familiar with English. This means that knowledge or lack of knowledge of English is one of the most severe factors that cause polarization. Learning to use a new Internet service or user interface may take a few hours, a few days, or even weeks, but it takes years to learn a language so that you can use it in a fluent and self-confident manner.
Of course, when you know some English, you can learn more just by using it on the Internet, but at least currently the general tendency among Internet users is to discourage people in their problems with the English language. Incorrect English causes a few flames much more probably than encouragement and friendly advice. In different countries and cultures, English has different positions. There are countries where English is the native language of the majority, there are countries where English is a widely known second language, and there are countries where English has no special position.
These differences add to the above-mentioned polarization. Specifically, it is difficult for people in previous colonies of other countries than Great Britain (e. g. France, Spain, the Netherlands) to adapt to the necessity of learning English. Locally, it may be necessary to learn the language of the previous colonial power since it is often an official language and the common language of educated people; globally, English is necessary for living on the Internet. And the more languages you have to learn well, the less time and energy you will have for learning other things.