14 Feb Internet Usage and Schools
Internet usage is no longer considered an unaffordable luxury, and instead is a necessity to more than three-quarters of the American population. In 2010, the Census Bureau Current Population Survey found that 77 percent of household had a computer and that 80 percent of households have at least one Internet user residing in the home. Although affordability of an Internet subscription and the purchase of a computer were cited as major barriers affecting Internet usage, the Current Population Survey also revealed that 32 percent of the population utilized schools, places of employment, restaurants, libraries, coffee shops and even other people’s houses as their primary location for Internet usage.
Internet usage has also become more widely available through mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets, when 22 percent of the US population in July of 2012 reported to have accessed the Internet through their mobile device, and 87 percent of the world population cited as owners of a smartphone or a tablet, with mobile Internet use growing 66 percent per year and expected to surpass wired connections by 2015. Additionally, mobile device Internet users showed higher activity levels in late afternoon hours as opposed to normal business hours. Online free and reduced applications, which are available 24/7 during the school year, are able accommodate those after business hours Internet users.
So how do all of these statistics on Internet usage actually affect those who are experiencing financial hardships and may need assistance via free and reduced meals? These statistics are showing us that Internet usage is no longer a luxury or inaccessible to those in the US who may not be able to afford it. Smartphones and tablets are limiting the barriers such as affordability, and with the accompanying data plans that connect to widely-available WiFi networks as opposed to an Internet subscription.