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Looking to the Day: When the Digital Divide is So Yesterday

March 21, 2010

The digital divide has existed since the evolution of the Internet and it’s still a prevalent issue. Beyond the folks who desire to have high-speed Internet in their rural American homes, there are also families in metropolitan cities and other countries that lack the basic resources necessary to own computers and pay for Internet connections.  So with the global growth of social media and Web 2.0, these people are at a serious disadvantage.

Things that we may take for granted are others’ dreams deferred. Whether it’s doing research and school work at home, searching for employment and career opportunities, reading the news, shopping, or looking up information about doctors, there are those who only experience the World Wide Web in shared environments such as public libraries or in classrooms.  

But with the help of the following organizations and legislation to support them, diminish of the digital divide can someday become a reality.

  • Internet for Everyone – Its goal is to make sure everyone can benefit from the new economy and guarantee that all citizens play an active role in our democracy.
  • The Benton Foundation – This non-profit believes in seeking policy solutions that support the values of access, diversity and equity, and by demonstrating the value of media and telecommunications for improving the quality of life for all.
  • Speed Matters – Its focus is on universal Internet access for everyone, because high speed Internet is essential for economic growth, job creation, and global competitiveness.
  • One Economy – Its mission is to maximize the potential of technology to help low-income people improve their lives and enter the economic mainstream.

In addition to the organizations built to bridge the digital divide gap, I believe there are things we can do as individuals to help.  For example, I donated my PC when I moved and now that I have a new laptop, I’m thinking of giving my first one to a family member that doesn’t have a home computer. It may be a small contribution to a large problem, but every bit of effort matters.

So what do you think you can do to assist in overcoming the digital divide?  If nothing, do you believe there is any hope at all?

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 23, 2010 10:45 pm

    I imagine that the inability to access the Internet hardly registers as a disadvantage to most people. Those who have access to the Internet at home take it for granted, myself included. In fact, I’d give up an awful lot of things before I’d give up my high-speed Internet access. But then, I know what I can accomplish with just a computer and an online connection.

    It’s true that not being able to access information online would be a huge disadvantage, not just for students (though I’m sure they feel it regularly), but with anyone looking for opportunity. So much information is readily accessible online – if only one has the means.

    It’s heartening to hear of organizations that help level the field of Internet access. Monthly service fees for high-speed service are high, prohibitively so for many earning a decent salary. And even if you can afford the service, computers are even more expensive and require regular replacement. Though I hate to think of the day my beloved MacBook will need replacing, when it does, your post reminds me that it should eventually go to a good home that wouldn’t otherwise have a computer to call its own.

  2. April 17, 2013 4:16 pm

    Good post. I am going through some of these
    issues as well..

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