Ian is our navigator with the Double Click program, helping to provide affordable computers to people with disabilities. This post explains why this is is a valuable service. Thanks Ian!
Modern technology has become such an important facet of our lives that without it, the world would be radically different. We use so much technology (things like cell phones, computers, WiFi, cars, etc.) that it has ceased to be the luxury item it was even 10 years ago and has become the basic necessity that it is today. But there are still many people who do not even have the basic access that many of us take for granted.
If you are living on a very low income, things like cars, cell phones, and computers are going to stretch your budget. Cars need gas, maintenance, insurance. Cell phones need payment plans and a computer by itself can cost several hundred dollars. In our society now, if you do not personally own or do not have easy and convenient access, you are going struggle to keep up. For many of my consumers, this is the first time owning a computer. Many are looking for work or are beginning to go back to school. For those who are going to school, finding classes online is very important. Many do not have a car or easy access to public transportation, so being able to access those classes online gives them an opportunity that they may not have had previously.
I know from personal experience what it is like to attend school without a computer, and it was never an easy time. You have to schedule your time around when libraries and computer labs are open so that you can get your work done, and it is not always assured that there will be a space open for you. And the locations where the computers are may not always be easy to get to. During my time studying abroad, I had to take public transportation to a computer lab. Fortunately, the Austrians are known for their transportation systems, so I was only a 20 minute ride and walk away from wherever I had to be. I spent most of my senior year in college without a computer, mostly because I was to lazy to get it fixed after it got a virus. So whenever I had any work to do, I had to drive to the school computer lab. It could get inconvenient and stressful at times to do all this, even considering the fact that I had easy access at all times.
Without something like a personal computer, trying to get a job is very difficult. Many businesses now place ads for positions on the internet, and so it becomes hard for someone to get a job. Other businesses allow for someone to work entirely from home, so being able to get those types of jobs lets a person earn an extra income, and if you are dependent on a single low income, even a little bit can go a long way. For them, it is a great opportunity to get access to technology that they may not have had before. It is important for them to bridge the “technology divide” and for us to help get them there.