By Joshua S.
Technology, today, runs not only our lives but everything around us. Whether it’s in the way we communicate with one another, do research, or even shopping, technology has claimed the center of it all. Things that once took hours to complete can now be done in seconds, all thanks to the power of technology. Through social media and the 21st century methods of communication, the once unreachable world has now been placed in the palm of our hands.
While many in the world are experiencing, benefitting, and utilizing from all the privileges that technology provides, there are also many who are not able to gain access to such privileges. The digital divide affects poverty and people living in poverty by limiting the access to achieve enhancement of both social and cultural capital. According to Poverty & Wealth, an article written by Louise May, the author states: the skills that are needed in the workforce—today—are becoming those associated with information provided by technology rather than the industrial skills of the 19th and 20th centuries. It is becoming more increasingly important to have these skills in order to gain employment, and to earn adequate incomes.
For those that can neither afford nor keep up with our ever-advancing world of technology, their state of poverty only worsens. The growing importance of information technology means that those on the non-access side of the divide risk experiencing another kind of marginalization. Where once upon a time majority of the news came in the form of paper (newspapers, magazines, etc) which allowed almost anyone to gain access to information, newspaper businesses are now being wiped away due to the internet. Supporting this claim, Newsweek wrote “The past decade is the era in which the Internet ruined everything. Just look at the industries that have been damaged by the rise of the Web: Newspapers, Magazines, Books, TV, Movies, Music, etc.” In addition to the many industries that the Internet has damaged, it’s birth has also affected the lives of many among us living in poverty.
According to recent studies reported by Journalist Charlie S., which focused on the importance of technology in education, it was found that “students who cannot attend colleges due to financial reasons can sit at home and study using the online learning methods.” Sure, that suggests an option for lower class citizens, but what options are there for those that cannot neither afford school nor the internet? It seems as though the people in the lowest level of the totem pole aren’t given any resources whatsoever.
Studies show that the internet is revolutionizing the way people of our world live, as well as the growth of our societies. Therefore, people living in poverty are being pulled further and further apart from the rest of the advancing world. Some of today’s basic requirements for obtaining a job is the basic knowledge of using a computer; emails, Microsoft Word, Outlet, Excel, social media and etc. As this shouldn’t be a problem for majority of Americans who, from a young age start practicing the use of a computer, it is a completely different story for those who grow up without the proper resources for obtaining such “skills”.
The importance of technology/internet can be utilized to improve life in the healthcare, business, education, and social aspects of living. In other words, technology/internet drastically alters and improves our very lives. They say that children are our future, but what does the future hold for those children who lack the very necessity of surviving in our technologically driven world. How can one understand the media culture, education, or even obtain a job when the one thing they all have in common is the very thing many fail to gain access to?
TES Newspaper stated in an article that, “Children from the poorest families are losing out educationally by not having access to the internet or a car, new research has shown. Those from the poorest families are almost a year behind average-income families in vocabulary tests when they start school at five, the Sutton Trust study said.”
Majority of the people living in poverty who cannot afford internet access go to their local libraries to use the city’s computers, but with all the budget cuts on public schools, libraries, etc., library hours are cut short, as well as the resources themselves. This is a great example of the rich getting richer, and the poor getting poorer. While majority of the American people continue to grow in knowledge, skill, and social status through the use of internet/technology, people living in poverty fall deeper into the pits. If we, as a society, continue to disregard the fundamental needs of the poor, not only will we find ourselves in a major crisis, but will soon be faced with a much greater demon in attempts on breaking the already vast and constant growing barrier between the privileged and the poor.
S., Charlie. "Importance of Technology." Buzzle.com. (2011): n. page. Web. 24 May. 2012. <http://www.buzzle.com/articles/importance-of-technology.html>.
Lyons, Daniel. "A Decade of Destruction." Newsweek. (2012): n. page. Web. 24 May. 2012. <http://2010.newsweek.com/essay/a-decade-of-destruction.html>.
May, Louise. "Poverty & Wealth in an Information Age." Caritas Aotearoa. (2000): n. page. Web. 24 May. 2012. <http://www.jobsletter.org.nz/jbl13110.htm>.
Ward, Helen. "Lack of internet access puts poorest children at educational disadvantage." TES. (2010): n. page. Web. 24 May. 2012. <http://www.tes.co.uk/article.aspx?storycode=6036318>.