You might think the digital divide running through this country is just a financial conundrum. But there is more to it than people simply not having money for big tech. It’s actually a four-prong problem that many organizations and businesses are attempting to address, often from only one of those angles. However, when you take into consideration things like education and screen size, the conversation needs to be a little more nuanced.
The four factors to address regarding the divide:
- Access – even just getting a device can be a barrier for some.
- Support – computers don’t last forever, who's going to repair them?
- Relevance – many older individuals don’t see a need to go online.
- Education – digital skills are a necessary component to a sustainable solution.
To be clear, we are talking primarily about large-screen devices like laptops and desktops. Most Americans—regardless of affluence—have a smartphone or tablet to surf with. While that’s fine for general web browsing (and killing it on Candy Crush), it’s not going to fly with filling out forms or applying for most jobs.
And it’s true that the first barrier to entry we face in tackling this issue (access) can be solved with donated refurbished devices, but that only scratches the surface. Each of these four factors needs to be dealt with to ensure a positive and total solution to the digital divide.
Most importantly, donations may be wasted in terms of positive outcomes if support and education is not available. Doing good in the community with refurbished IT assets includes a wholistic solution to bring connectivity, support, and education along with the devices being donated. Adding that piece will not only close the gap for good, but it can also benefit your business through boosting your CRA or ESG metrics.