The internet – am I bothered?
Earlier today I was shown an article on wired.co.uk, titled ‘What to do with digital refuseniks‘. Since then I have discovered an article from Bill Thompson on the BBC website called ‘Giving power to the people‘,which also throws up the term ‘refusenik’.
For me, establishing whether people are genuinely refusing to go online because they ‘can’t see the point of it’ needs further work. It might be useful to know how the figures that are available to us have been arrived at – what research methodologies were used?
People might provide a ‘don’t see the point’ response if they’re not fully informed or aware of what the internet can do for them. They might base the response on what they’ve been told about the internet and computers by other people, including friends and family – the very relationship that could so easily lead to people giving digital technology a go. They might be reacting to horror stories of online identity theft and computer viruses that they’ve heard on the news. They might come across as ‘refuseniks’ when there may be more deep-rooted issues at stake. It’s not easy for someone to admit that they can’t afford a computer or internet access, or that they may not possess the necessary skills to use it – so giving the ‘can’t be bothered’ response might be the easy way out.
There’s a nice comment that follows the first article on wired.co.uk which talks about non-financial benefits of getting online, which I’m inclined to agree with. Arguably, improved self-esteem and confidence, and being helped to overcome isolation, all through ICT are arguably just as valuable as any financial gain to be made online, if not more so. That’s not to trivialise the potential financial benefits from becoming digitally included – far from it – I just feel there needs to be more of a balance and adopting an approach, based more on ‘quality of life’ advantages, could also be something that merits further development.
Author: Mark Smith