The “digital divide” is not what it seems

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It’s 8 a.m. The alarm clock is ringing. Lying in bed, I turn over to turn it off and automatically reach for my phone. For the next five minutes, the time is spent either on Facebook or Twitter catching up on the overnight news before starting my day.

The 24/7 consumption of technology appears to avoid personal face-to-face interaction in the minds of some people, but a survey suggests the new innovations in technology help connect the newest generation to the older generations.

According to this survey, conducted by NPR, 92 percent of Americans under the age of 60 have used a computer. With the number of laptops, tablets and other devices coming out every day, it’s hard to disagree with this statistic. The growth of computers in homes and workplaces also help support it. Every person in my family owns his or her own computer. My mom even has an iPad. Despite the increasing amount of time people spend on their devices, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I’ve found certain videos or posts on the Internet help me spend more time with my family that I normally wouldn’t have thought consciously to do.

Another statistic in this survey said 76 percent of Americans under the age of 60 like how technology keeps them in touch.  With the Internet and the rise of social media, it’s even easier to stay connected to family members and long distance friends. Most of my immediate family is now on Facebook including my mom and one of my grandmas. It’s simple to be able to go online, post a video or status about an event and have everyone see it, especially if people don’t come to or can’t make it to those events.

According to the survey, only 22 percent of older Americans have even used the Internet. But even with older adults who don’t have a computer or any other device, technology helps them as well. When I was at home this weekend, my grandma stopped by and asked about college and everything going on in my life.  With my mom’s help, I was able to connect her iPad to the TV and pull up the YouTube video of my Blugold Marching Band performance from earlier in the semester. It felt very gratifying to be able to show her the fun times I’m having in college so she is still a part of my life.

This is a very different society than what there used to be 20 years ago. When my mom was at nursing school, in order for her to keep in touch she had to take a number of buses to get home or go to a friend’s place. Now with just the tap of a key, it takes a second to get in touch with someone that would take 15 minutes to get to two decades ago.

The product of an information-filled technology means a closer, tight-knit society. Even with the biggest tragedies such as the Boston Marathon bombings, the LAX shooting and other major events, more people whether young or old come together to create a stronger bond and a better informed country.