By reading this blog, you are participating in the technology revolution. We’re using devices, services and platforms that have completely changed the world. While those of us who use technology every day may take access to it for granted, it’s still out-of-reach for many.
Our customers at Daily Steals are generally tech savvy. Our most popular products are mobile phones and other cool tech stuff. Obviously, you’re all comfortable shopping online and using tech every day. One goal we have with our tech blogs is to help people become more comfortable using technology. However, it is important to remember that the disparity between tech haves and have-nots is growing.
Not Everyone Is Comfortable With Technology
I work with a number of public libraries, and help maintain the computer networks they make available for public use. One interesting thing I’ve seen is the difference in how librarians in the children’s department have to manage versus those in the adult area.
The typical child will sit down at a PC, or grab a tablet, and explore. They’ll find the games, or access the websites they are looking for. Generally, the librarians only need to get involved when something stops working.
The librarians working in the adult area are the total opposite. Many people coming into the library to use public PCs struggle with basic online tasks, like checking email. The comfort level is much lower, so they don’t tend to explore outside of the basics. Those librarians often have to walk people through simple tasks, like logging into a website or printing a document.
Access To The Internet Equals Quality of Life
What I’ve also noticed is how many people have trouble doing things because they don’t have easy access to the Internet. Try job hunting these days if you’re not online. Government forms, like tax documents, are increasingly available only on the web. This situation really made news when FEMA told people in disaster areas that they needed to submit claims online, in places without power or cell service.
Increasingly, access to technology will be a major factor in everyone’s quality of life. Getting a job, being part of the financial system, even participating in society, will depend on having access to technology and the Internet. Tech can be the great equalizer, but those who are left behind will have a very difficult time catching up. Poor tech skills will become as difficult a challenge to overcome as lack of reading or math.
Tech Affects Us At Every Level
Those of us who have access to tech, and understand its importance, should look for ways to help those who might not be in the same boat. Support local libraries who give free access to the Internet. Help friends and relatives who aren’t online to take those first steps to having an email address or Facebook account.
In addition to food, water and shelter, disaster response needs to include power and mobile phone service. There are companies with the ability to set up solar-based power grids in disaster areas. Large companies like Facebook and Google are working on pilot programs to bring wireless Internet to vast areas currently poorly served.
These challenges affect us on every level. From the child starting school whose family may not be able to afford Internet at home, to a country ravaged by a hurricane looking to rebuild, the scope is enormous. We’ll try to highlight these important issues in future blogs as well as offer ways we can all help out and be involved.
Using iPads To Help Those With Autism
Part of the inspiration for this blog is a new charity I recently learned about called the Morgan Marie Michael Foundation. This 501(c)3 charity was founded by two impressive young women, Alyssa Lego and Amanda Witkowski. One of their projects is to raise money to provide iPads to individuals on the autism spectrum. They know that having access to an iPad can greatly help these people with learning and communication. If you’re in New Jersey and know of someone who could benefit from this program, or would like to donate, you can get more information on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Morganmarie501c3/ or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Know of other organizations working to improve access to technology? Let me know at email@example.com and we may highlight them in future blogs.