Today, we can sometimes take the internet for granted. For those lucky enough, we don’t have any trouble accessing these resources. We can easily complain how the internet is too slow today. Or that this coffee shop doesn’t provide free wifi. Sadly, there are others in this world that don’t have the same privileges as us.
Growing up I can always remember having a computer. My family was a little more tech savvy than some of my friends and their families. My friends would always want to come over to visit the Cartoon Network site and want to play games for hours. I never gave it a second thought until recently. Some of my friends didn’t have access to the internet in their home. I would go with them to the library to play games if they didn’t come to mine. Coming into middle school, I was lucky enough to have my own laptop. My family always wanted me to have the best opportunities for my education. Even I have taken that for granted.
Recently, I can across the term- digital divide. TechTarget defines the digital divide as the gap between demographics and regions that have access to modern information and communications technology, and those that don’t or have restricted access. We can think of this as a similar situation as world hunger. Not having it is a disadvantage and may prevent someone the same opportunities as someone else.
As of 2015, 84% of Americans are using the internet. What about the other 16% of Americans? It makes us think about how much of that 16% are those who aren’t able to afford any sort of personal internet. Or who may use internet from other places such as libraries.
What can we do?
I’m a firm believer that everyone should have access to the internet. Since it has become such a huge factor into our everyday lives, we need a wider range of audience. No Child Left Behind is a great example of how we are able to help others. By providing internet access to everyone who wants it will benefit them. This doesn’t mean that they must use it, but rather it is there for when they need it. Everything in our time is being streamlined into the internet. Job applications, shopping and booking appointments have all be pushed online for ease. Potentially, we could never have anything on paper again!
In the mean time, we need to take charge and push for more accessibility. There are libraries that will provide internet to those who have a library card free of charge. These resources also include printing and browsing. Other libraries are providing classes on the internet.
While the internet is seemingly becoming a basic human right, we as a society have a duty in helping so.
This article originally appeared here.