E-Commerce Times Talkback
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Despite continued growth in the percentage of Americans online, there will still be 50 million Americans without basic Internet skills by the year 2005, according to a study released Monday by technology research firm Gartner (NYSE: IT).
I am a degreed low socio economic person, however, I am also an avid internet user, and, yes, I also have a high-speed connection and an owner of three computers. One's a brand new pentium 4 system. I pay 49 a month on my internet service, and, yes, my income is less than 25.000 a year.
It's not really an issue of income, but an issue of priorities and education.
I talked to this guy who makes about the same income as me. He told me that he still has not purchased a computer yet. And he thinks that anyone paying 49 a month for internet service is crazy.
Yet, he pays 70 a month on his cable bill and is paying 40 a month on his big-screen TV.
I asked him once why he never purchased a computer. His reply is simple, "what do I need it for?" He also expressed blind hostility towards technology, saying that computers and the internet have ruined society.
The digital divide is not so much income, but education. People who are the lower bracket in education tend to see this new technology and the internet as an unknown entity. They are less flexible and more reluctant to try anything new.
They are fearful of this "brave new world". And they feel incapable of participating in it.
The more education a person has, correlates to the willingness to explore and learn these new technologies.
Of course not everyone is going to obtain a degree, therefore communities need to establish classes that teach people the basics of computers and, more importantly, the benefits.
Income level is irrelevant. If someone really wants to get a computer and get on the internet, he will. Price is not the issue anymore either. You can buy a brand-new system as low as 300 dollars and some internet providers charge as low as 10 a month.
The problem is education that affects all age groups and all income brackets.