It’s crazy to think that Internet access is not available to a full two-thirds of the world. Getting online is something in the U.S. that’s largely taken for granted. We rely on it daily for our jobs, for education, for research – for everything.
But there is a big difference between being tech savvy and being computer literate.
Here’s just one example:
Knowing how to use a search engine like Google to find a website is not the same as knowing how to take full advantage of its features and capabilities. Using advanced Boolean operators, filtering through the search results, being able to determine which results are ads and which are not, choosing the most relevant results for your query, the list goes on.
The difference between tech savvy and computer literate online users can also be described in terms of the digital divide.
What is the digital divide?
The digital divide is a blanket term to describe the difference in online connectivity among different regions. For example, of the 91% of Americans that have the option to get broadband Internet, only 71% do – and that percentage is even lower among African-Americans and Hispanics, according to a White House report.
An even bigger gap lies in the type of Internet connectivity people have access to. With tens of millions of wireless connections available throughout the country, it’s not uncommon for people to rely solely on smartphones for their Internet access – especially teens.
The problem there? Using a smartphone as a primary means of Internet access means that you aren’t performing the basic functions of computer literacy.
These functions include, among others, protecting yourself from online security threats, utilizing common keyboard shortcuts, troubleshooting a browser’s common error messages and performing basic word processing tasks like formatting and saving a document.
For teens, these functions are going to be critical as they enter into the realm of higher education. High school students, college students, graduates looking for jobs – they all need high-speed Internet access and basic computer skills to compete in a digital world.
Having access to a high-speed Internet connection is fast becoming a basic human right on par with other basic utility services, one that’s important to the founders of Internet.org.
Internet.org is an initiative, founded by Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg, to provide Internet access to the two-thirds of the world that is currently without it.
This global partnership is all about bandwidth – trying to provide the necessary support to the world through data networks and efficient services, tools and software.
Zuckerberg has teamed up with partners like Samsung, Nokia and Ericsson to try and make broadband Internet across the globe a reality.
But back home in the U.S., where 91% of us have the option to get high-speed Internet, we have to make sure we are using it to its highest advantage. And that means taking the extra steps to learn how to be computer literate – not just tech savvy.