Lacking Internet Access Disadvantages

Has having recourse to the internet evolved into a modern necessity? In this era of information, we must all begin to think about that issue. Industrialization was the primary issue in the developing world at the start of the previous century. To assist with labor and movement, this kind of machine became a necessity for almost every home. Today, the internet is a relevant example. Nearly all of the knowledge required for society to operate is now easily accessible online, replacing books and papers. Kang claims that about 40% of people do not have access to the internet in some American cities like Detroit. The digital divide in such areas is evident in the high rate of unemployment as those without internet access have limited ways of being informed on job vacancies available. Therefore, I seek to establish how the lack of internet access in some parts of the developed countries has disadvantaged individuals, especially those in schools and the unemployed.

From the review of literature, I have established that most people access the internet using their smartphones. It is easy to check on stuffs while on the move without necessarily logging to a computer or a laptop. However, some people do not have access to smartphones, while others do not have a reliable internet connection. Jesse asserts that the smartphones have become an important gadget for accessing the critical information online as well as social and entertainment content (3). Within just ten years, smartphones have revolutionized interpersonal communication and the social lives of humanity. They are now constantly present around people everywhere they go. No other gadget in history has achieved such closeness with people as the smartphones. While other argue they are luxury accessories, they have become indispensable and inseparable with individuals. While it may be easy for people without internet access to get entertained with their television and radios, the same cannot be said for vital information about job vacancies and educational materials. Fountain, points out that many organizations are today posting most of their information on their website and social media pages (1237). Therefore, those who don't venture online have no way of getting the information.

Apart from getting informed, the internet is also crucial for the sake of networking. A study done by Jesse, revealed that people use their smartphones to network and get social and economic support from friends and family members (7). I have several social networking sites accounts that help me get in touch with thousands of people. I have contact with former classmates in high school, I am in family groups, and even WhatsApp groups that offer daily updates on neighborhood welfare. I cannot imagine who those without internet access or smartphones are surviving. They are easily forgotten by the society because they have no online presences (Lehdonvirta 121) If their friends post an opportunity on their twitter or Facebook timeline, they have no way of finding out if they are offline. It is as if they live in darkness while the rest of the world is well illuminated with the internet technology.

Institutions of higher learning have also adapted the use of online system in the delivery of course work. I have noted that assignments are posted and delivered online, learning material are posted online, and the students contact the instructors through online chatrooms. Almost the colleges and universities have online portals for students and staffs. Many students access the online learning materials using their smartphones applications. Biagi and Loi explain that evidence from numerous studies reveal that ICT enhances learning (32). What could not be done a few years back is now possible courtesy of the internet technology. However, the unfortunate few who are still on the other side of the digital divide are having a difficult time catching up with the rest of the population. In learning institutions, it can be really stressful for the few students who do not have access to internet at home. It implies they cannot work on their school work while at home. Most importantly, they have limited access to knowledge because almost all the information they need in their studies is available online.

The same fate rests with the unemployed adults who have no way of accessing online content. They are the few living under extreme poverty conditions in urban areas and the rural areas. Kvasny insists that it is imperative for the government to consider internet as a basic need. The unemployed need regular online presences if they intend to get a job quickly (37). Even the small businesses advertise their vacancies in their social media pages where most people frequent. Consequently, the few who have no way of visiting the online places depend on verbal referrals, walk-in job searches, and maybe telephone calls. Even newspapers do not have many adverts in the classified section because the readership has gone down. Today, we prefer to get updated online and the newspapers are also focusing on their online versions as opposed to the printed versions. Basically, the developed world is shifting online while some few people are still struggling to find a gadget that connect to the internet.

Therefore, if the government helps the less fortunate in the society to get food, shelter, and clothing, they ought to do the same for internet. In a society where having information is one of the factors that contributes to development, it is prudent for the government to provide internet to the less fortunate. I was pleased to know that in some places, the authorities are trying to reach out to those stuck offline. Kang notes that in some villages in Detroit, the government and other private players have provided free computer and internet access to the public. In fact, those who have no basic computer skills are offered free training to enable them apply for jobs and look for information that will assist them in getting economically viable opportunities. Public libraries have been equipment with ICT equipment that makes it possible to the poor people living in the neighborhood to access internet (Kang 1). This is a commendable gesture that needs to be made a national policy.

If I feel depressed when I am offline for a few days, I can imagine how some people feel living with no internet access for weeks, months, and even years, simply because they cannot afford. It is surely depressing when they hear people talking about a trending issue and they have no idea what it is. Kvasny believes that lack of internet access is also a demotivating factor to the poor population (29). They feel as if they live in another generation or world, and that makes them develop low self-esteem. For those in schools, their performance cannot improve because they have an excuse for not being at par with the other students. The same case with the unemployed. They feel disadvantaged when it comes to job application. Even when they get a chance to send an application from library or cyber café, they lack the confidence to pass through the interview sessions that sometimes require online tests or skype interview. The situation is worse for the old people who feel they are beyond the age of learning ICT. They have resigned to the fate of being on the dark side of the digital divide.

In conclusion, I can confidently assert that the internet is rapidly becoming a basic need. In the next few years, life would be unbearable for the few that are still stuck in the analogue era. The government and the private sector need to step up their effort in connecting everybody to the World Wide Web, especially the young generation who have no excuse for not being digitally competent. The elderly can be excused as being the old cat that is reluctant to learn new tricks. However, young people should not be left out in the online revolution. If it is an issue of cost, the government can subsidize internet equipment or network charges so that everybody is connected. With the Wi-Fi technology, it possible to offer free internet to the public. However, people need to have smartphones. That is the surest way to ensure as many people as possible have access to internet connection.

Works Cited

Biagi, Federico, and Massimo Loi. "Measuring ICT use and learning outcomes: Evidence from recent econometric studies." European Journal of Education 48.1 (2013): 28-42.

Fountain, Christine M. "Finding a job in the internet age." Social Forces 83.3 (2005): 1235-1262.

Jesse, Gayle R. "Smartphone and App Usage Among College Students: Using Smartphones Effectively for Social and Educational Needs." Proceedings of the EDSIG Conference. 2015.

Kang, Cecilia. "Unemployed Detroit Residents Are Trapped by A Digital Divide". Nytimes.Com, 2017,

Kvasny, Lynette, and Mark Keil. "The challenges of redressing the digital divide: A tale of two US cities." Information systems journal 16.1 (2006): 23-53.

Lehdonvirta, Vili, et al. "Online labour markets and the persistence of personal networks: evidence from workers in Southeast Asia." ASA Annual Meeting 2015 session on The Changing Nature of Work. 2015.

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