Internet Critical for Economic Equality

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Internet Critical for Economic Equality


There is no denying the role the Internet plays in modern American life. Businesses use it for transmission, research, and organization. Most people have at least one computer available to them, and the popularity of Smartphones and tablets is rising daily. Some cities are even beginning to offer free Wi-Fi within city limits. Coffee shops, fast food restaurants, and even malls offer Internet access to visitors. The Internet or the satellite internet is an essential source of information and pleasure for most Americans, offering entertainment ranging from TV shows to movies to news sites to funny pictures of cats. 

Social networking has united the world through the Internet. While many now take all of the amazing things at their fingertips for granted, there are still plenty of people who don't have computers, Smartphones, or high speed Internet access. Those entrenched in a world of 4G coverage, and mobile apps might not realize this, but people living at a distance from newer technology are at quite a disadvantage.

Life Before the high speed Internet

Everyone older than the age of twenty-five remembers life before electronics took over. Kids played outside, husbands called their wives from landlines, and managers went to talk to their employees. Stores and businesses posted help wanted signs in the windows or in the paper, and secretaries filled out forms by hand. Those days are long over. For the individuals fortunate enough to keep up, the world doesn't seem much different. For those without the means or the ability to drive towards the front of the pack, it may seem like everything has changed.

The Downside to the Absence of Internet

It is becoming increasingly difficult for those without access to the Internet or who do not have computer skills to find a job or move up the career ladder. Most companies post job descriptions on job search sites, contact prospective employees via email and set up interviews online. Many businesses require their employees to use online scheduling programs, prepare all documents using word processors, often make use of IM and email to communicate with employees, and require a reasonable ability to type quickly and research on the Internet from even entry level employees.

While these expectations are implied for many young adults, older adults or those with little experience with technology will find themselves excluded. It's hard enough to find job opportunities without the Internet, but it's almost impossible to find a job that doesn't require knowledge of technology or even access.

Improving Internet Access

Improved access to the Internet and technological information might not seem relevant to those who grew up as these advancements progressed, but for those who did not or who cannot afford to spend thousands on an iPhone, a fancy laptop, a high speeding Internet access at home, it's of the utmost importance. The more steps a community can choose to provide Internet access to those who don't have it, as well as learning courses and public computers, the easier time the unemployed will have found steady employment.

Cities across the country are implementing public Wi-Fi, libraries offer computer access for cardholders, and several community centers teach classes for those interested in learning. If more cities, towns and communities begin offering these sorts of services, more people will have opportunities to improve their skills and access the network, regardless of income level.


Technology is a fact of life, but it is a bitter pill to swallow for individuals who do not know enough to attract an employer or who cannot pay for Internet, computers, or Smartphones. If communities come together to attack this weakness and strategize to apply remedial measures, a forgotten generation of workers will have a new purpose in the current job market.


Dennis Minter is a freelance writer based in Kansas City. He focuses primarily on tech issues including the internet, computer software, gadgetry, computer accessories and other such subjects.

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