Enduring digital detox

Published 1:07am Saturday, September 28, 2013

Seriously, what did people do before Internet and television were common commodities?

Since moving to Selma earlier this month, I haven’t had Internet or TV service.

Living without cable or satellite TV service isn’t so bad. Not having the ability to watch live sports is the only downside that’s popped up so far.

But not having Internet is a first-world struggle that seems difficult to overcome.

I have access to the Internet at work, but most of my time is spent conducting research for articles, calling sources, attending public meetings, or drinking coffee.

My smart phone has Internet connection, but the available allotments of data aren’t large enough to watch Netflix movies or Youtube videos.

What did the generations before mine do? Play outside? Listen to the radio? Have face-to-face conversations instead of sending electronic messages?

I could watch all of the movies that I own, if I hadn’t already done it.

Though it’s hardly a real problem, not having first-world comforts makes me wonder whether Internet access is taken for granted. The reality is that most of the world and a large portion of Alabama don’t have any connection to the Internet. At least I have access at work and on my phone.

Only about a third of the world’s population, 2.4 billion out of 7 billion people, have Internet access. Alabama’s statistics aren’t much better, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. In fact, Alabama is sixth worst for Internet access in the nation. In Alabama, about two-thirds of households have Internet access.

Statistics for Selma are difficult to find, but it is expected there are large pockets of the city that do not have access to the Internet.

Perhaps, the problem isn’t that I am without Internet access, but rather, that I feel entitled to web access.

To some, web access is a luxury, but in today’s age, having access is almost becoming a necessity.

Not having Internet isn’t miserable. Sometimes it’s nice to sit outside and enjoy nature.

Once my wireless Internet is turned on, I’m sure I’ll be browsing social networking sites at light-speed once again, but the reality is the ability to do so should not be a luxury of mine, but a right shared by far more.

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