Today I was especially intrigued with the group presentation about the digital divide. As a child, teenager and young adult who has always had the luxury of having a computer around, I forget what it would be like sometimes to be on the other side of the divide.
I depend on the internet for so many things. To communicate, search for jobs/internships, recipes, shopping and tons of other information. I depend on it for WebCT, to post blogs, to do almost everything school related. I can sit in my bed and do things on the internet, at my kitchen table or in a coffee shop. From having to do all of these tasks as a college student, I have learned certain skills that come second hand to me: Using Microsoft, surfing the internet, using email. It’s hard for me to imagine that people have to wait inline for hours not only to get access, but to get taught simple things like using Microsoft Word.
With the rise of sites like craigslist, monster jobs and the hundreds of other sites, the internet is a crucial tool for finding jobs. Even simple jobs like working at Target or McDonalds. Everything seems more easily found on the internet. With out the internet, many have, and will continue to have, a harder time finding jobs. I can’t count the number of times I’ve applied for jobs and they’ve told me to submit my resume online. What happens if you don’t have access to the internet? So many people seem to be left behind, but when you’re not one of them, it’s hard to slow down and walk in another person’s shoes.
Because of this, I think that the one laptop per child is a necessary step to closing the digital divide. More than anything, the youth of the world needs to get acquainted with the internet because it is the future of jobs, education, socialization, consumption…everything. I also think that it is important that we teach the older generations about the internet. With factory jobs disappearing, like the current automobile situation, it is important that there be workshops for our parent’s generation. For example, my mom stresses out at work every time she has to go on the internet. It shouldn’t be like that. Everyone should feel comfortable with Web 2.0, or at least be able to use it to some extent. It is important to spread cyber-literacy across the world, and it will be my generation’s job to do so.