No one could deny that we’re in the midst of a privileged age. Technology ensures we can get just about anything we want, whenever we want it. Our lives are easier than ever. And, the internet has opened lines of communication across the world. Never before has it been so easy to keep in touch with distant friends, or even make new ones in other countries. Not so long ago, the idea of ‘internet friends’ would never have been taken seriously. Now, the majority of us have a friend or two who we’ve never actually met. It’s a wonderful thing, and something we should be thankful for every time we log on.
But, there is a dark side to this increased communication potential. While the privileged enjoy the benefits, those who live in poverty, or on low-incomes, become more isolated than ever. The current world just isn’t a friendly place if you can’t afford the latest technology. And, for groups which are already on the outskirts of society, this can be a devastating blow.
Life has never been easy for low-earners, but it’s becoming increasingly more difficult. After all, when you’re struggling to buy food, you can hardly worry about paying out for broadband. But, if you aren’t on Facebook nowadays, the world forgets about you all too easily. Not to mention that your opportunities decrease in a significant way when you don’t have internet access. Many companies now only accept online applications. Plus, many forms required for tax purposes, or even paying bills, are online too.
And, in a more basic sense, it can be harder for those offline to join in modern conversations. When we do speak in real life, it’s often about the latest show we’ve been watching on Netflix or something similar. Conversations which, unsurprisingly, those without the internet are unable to join. Hence, it’s more and more difficult for such individuals to integrate with those around them.
And, the situation worsens the further into poverty you delve. In some communities, even phone ownership is hard to come by. And, it’s no surprise in this contract culture. High-earners can afford large monthly sums, but not everyone’s in such a privileged position. As such, even phone use goes out of the window.
But, what can we do about the increasing isolation of those on the edge of society? The good news is, steps are being made by charities and companies to bridge the gap. Developments by individuals like Issa Asad Quadrant CEO are ensuring those in poverty have access to phone plans with his Q Link Wireless service. Many libraries also ensure those in need have access to the internet.
You could argue, though, that progress needs to be faster. After all, technology moves at an astonishing rate, and the situation only looks set to get worse. For now, though, all we can do is spread awareness of the problem, and step away from our screens for long enough to engage with those in less privileged positions.