On the Fortunate Side of the Digital Divide

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While shopping at Harris teeter I found that all my healthy foods I normally eat were drastically overpriced compared to my store back home. I didn’t have a car, the time, nor the means to go to the cheaper grocery store so I took to the internet. This week I ordered all my non-perishables foods from Amazon on Prime Pantry. It was delivered to me in 2 days all in one box. I always joke that because of the internet a person doesn’t actually need to leave their house if they don’t want to. If you think about, it’s actually true. With the use of the internet you can get schooling, have a job, enjoy entertainment and even do your grocery shopping all from the comfort of your home.

Similarly, through the process of writing field notes during the week, I found I couldn’t do much without my phone and my laptop. I relied heavily on the use of the technology just to get through daily activities.

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Here are some of my field notes pertaining to this:

  • CNU Wi-Fi refused to work – I had to postpone doing math homework because I couldn’t get online – highlights our societies dependence on technology and how schools have also forced student’s dependence on technology
  • Ordered Chinese takeout from the Asian Grill – could not be notified of my food being delivered because CNU’s Wi-Fi is terrible and there is no connection here for people who have tat. Delivery people left and I never got my food. –Bitter and hungry
  • My Order from amazon came in today! I got cereal, pumpkin spice granola bars, two cans of soup, organic cookies and lavender hand soap. I am happy with Amazon’s service. Total money spent: $28.00. I am overall happy with Amazons service and it saved me time and money.
  • Bought a case of ramen noodles and siracha off amazon. Not as cheap as I would have liked but happy with the convenience. Total spent: $15.00.
  • My laptop broke today. Apple told me they couldn’t fix my 2012 mac pro because it’s now consider “vintage” and I would have to buy a new one. Everything I have to do has come to an abrupt halt. I can’t write my essay, fill out my honors application, or study. – Had to drive an hour to buy a new laptop from the apple store because I can’t pass college without one.

To recap; I couldn’t do my homework whenever the Wi-Fi was down and I couldn’t get my food because the cell service wasn’t working. At CNU during my daily life I put such a heavy reliance on my technology that when my laptop broke it felt like both hands were tied behind my back.

It’s great when you have it but if you don’t it’s crippling.

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When available, technology is great. It allows us to connect, share, communicate, and produce faster than ever before. You can share ideas with people a million miles away and easily learn about anything on whim. Because of the ability to connect, the internet has become a huge platform for the career world. Most job applications are now online and employers will even find your resume on sites like Linkten and about me.

But what happens if a person doesn’t have access to these resources?

 Do those people get left behind in the dust both on their career path and education?

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This is called a digital divide. The divide is between those with access to strong internet and those who don’t. As our culture has created a huge reliance on technology. Almost all job applications and schooling take part using the internet leaving the people who don’t have access at a huge disadvantage.  Susan P. Crawford talks about this in her article A New Digital Divide. She states that as the internet is developing in resources like like “video-on-demand, online medicine and Internet classrooms” it requires a truly high speed internet that many can’t afford. She goes on to say that even as the rate of low-income smartphone users increase those smart phones still wouldn’t be able to provide all the services of high speed internet that a laptop could provide; like typing a resume or writing a job application.

Article:

A New Digital Divide -Susan P. Crawford

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/04/opinion/sunday/internet-access-and-the-new-divide.html?pagewanted=all&_r=2

I feel very fortunate. My dad has always worked for tech companies as a computer consultant so I have always had the latest technology and highest quality internet. I never noticed how much of a reliance I put on it during my daily life until there was an instance that I didn’t have it.

So what’s next? Is there a solution?

Crawford said that the divide has a lot to do with lack of completion in the companies providing internet services. Even though there are a lot of companies they all pertain to a certain area so you actually don’t have much choice on which one you use. This Allows those companies to charge unreasonably high rates for a product that has become a necessity in todays day and age. Countries like Sweden and Japan already have inexpensive, standard, and efficient fiber optic networks that provide internet to millions. The U.S. needs to jump on the band wagon.  How can we be one of the richest nations in the world with the poorest internet services? A capitalist nation should not have network monopolies. We should have a way to provide strong, inexpensive internet to everyone. It’s just the right thing to do.

Work Cited:

Crawford, Susan P. “The New Digital Divide.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 03 Dec. 2011. Web. 28 Sept. 2015.

Digital image. Http://messymatters.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/digdiv.jpg. N.p., n.d. Web.

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