By. Michael Condra
As human-I-T breaks into Digital Inclusion Week we want to share how distributing refurbished devices continues to have a huge impact on our communities. While it’s not uncommon for people to rush for the newest smartphone or tablet, there are options for donating old electronics so they can be reused for good. In the past 4 years human-I-T has taken in countless donations of electronics from individuals and companies that believe in reusing devices. This process allows us to reach more low-income families everyday who experience a barrier to technology and internet access.
According to a study by the Pew Research Center, nearly “13%” of the U.S. population lack sufficient internet access, This often occurs with limited availability of broadband internet where they live and the lack of adequate equipment to connect online. Most Americans have a plethora of options when it comes to getting online to read, play games, apply for jobs or simply listen to music. In another study from the Pew Research Center, “92% of American adults own a cellphone,” while “68% own a smartphone” These devices may not suite most Americans well enough to do everything online, it does give the chance to stay connected with others and not get left behind.
Similarly, the study showed that the average rate of desktop and laptop usage has stayed the same for the past decade. While “73% of U.S. adults own a desktop or a laptop computer,” this number does reflect a decline from “80%” in 2012. This percentage does affect the state of digital equity when we take into account the loss of digital literacy skills training and opening new paths to jobs and educational attainment.
One way to ensure more people receive digital devices is via reusing your old electronics.Through our refurbishing and distribution events we have been able to help someone like Gary finish his university degree and Patricia land a job and enroll at a local college. This enables more people to connect, reduce the amount of E-waste that is sent to landfills and supports your neighbors-in-need that will benefit by having access… to learn more. It’s a circular approach to reusing old devices and transform it from a disposable product after a few years to a reusable tool. human-I-T commits to up-cycle your electronics when we work to align reused computers for a potential recipient, who might not have sufficient funds to purchase one.
Access to digital devices should be a bridge to education, jobs, and connecting to family members.
Additionally, we can mitigate the environmental effects of E-waste nationwide, by refurbishing old devices, which bypasses landfills and shredding them at recycling centers. It’s becoming more imperative that we work on expanding access to laptops and desktop based computers so everyone can enjoy the benefits it offers.
Related articles from our blog:
The Social Cost of Digital Exclusion
Bridging The Digital Divide With Alchemy Communications