A recent study by mobilestatistics.com indicated that the average person will spend 90 minutes of their day using a mobile device. That’s is about 23 days a year spent staring down at a mobile screen, which would add up to 3.9 years of the average persons life. As of January 2014, about 90% of American adults own a cellphone.
About 7% of adults that own a smartphone say that they are smartphone dependent and use their smartphone for access to the internet. It is to no one’s surprise that many people carry a mobile phone with them everywhere they go as mobile phones can now replace everyday household items such as flashlights, watches, and more.
Although it may be called a phone, using the mobile phone to call people is the only the sixth most used function. There are over 800,000 applications for Apple and Android phones. Many of these applications can become daily uses, such as checking what time is it or using the mobile device as an alarm clock.
67% of cell phone owners say that they find themselves constantly checking their mobile phones for messages, alerts, or calls even when they did not hear their phone ringing or vibrating. 44% of cell phone users say that they sleep with a mobile device. 29% of cell phone owners say that their cell phone is “something they cannot live without.”
With all the possibilities that a mobile device can offer in our time, it is easy to think that people could get addicted to a mobile device. Mobile device use may have increased tremendously in the past few years but does this mean it is an addiction or just a way to be more efficient for daily activities?
At the speed technology is advancing, it can be hard to keep up, especially for older citizens who weren’t born into a world with laptops and smartphones. To help them, an initiative by the City of Sacramento called TechConnections is giving participants the chance to gain computer literacy and navigate the ever-expanding cyber world.
TechConnections, launched by the city last year, is geared towards people over 50 years old who want to become more tech-savvy for a variety of reasons. From Facebook to Macbooks, from Windows 8 to Word, there is a class for many basic computer and internet programs.
“TechConnections classes make a difference in people’s lives in many ways,” says Christopher Godsey, volunteer for TechConnections. “I believe that all of the classes offered help to improve technological skills and abilities.”
This program is challenging the idea that older adults have little desire to go online or learn new technologies. The Pew Research Center provides studies that debunk that myth. Their research found that in 2012, 77% of seniors in the US had a cell phone, and over half were using the internet. Of those older internet users, over 70% go online almost every day. Today those numbers are likely higher.
There are, however, real hurdles that older adults face in keeping up with newer and newer technologies. Less than one in five seniors felt like they would be able to learn a new technology on their own, and over half felt like they would need help signing up on a social networking site.
“At 83 years old I found myself losing intellectual language skills,” says TechConnections student Mario Gonzalez. “…The three classes I took with TechConnections have helped me to challenge my language skills and to discipline myself in a way that made my life more interesting and satisfying in my daily activities.”
One class offered by the program addresses this issue by educating participants on the use of networks like Facebook and Twitter, focusing on things like privacy, finding friends, and creating timelines. Classes also offered include internet use, Microsoft Word and Excel, and Apple’s Macintosh operating system.
“I feel I am a stranger in this world where most of the people around and in everyday life, talk about computer use,” says, Sundus Al Rubaye. “So I decided that late is better than never and I began to look for a place where I can benefit, and here I am…”
Sacramento seniors who don’t want to be left behind in the Computer Age are encouraged to check out the city’s TechConnections program and sign up for a class or two. It’s never too late to learn.
Featured image from Flickr under Creative Commons.
UPDATE: APPLICATION DEADLINE EXTENDED TO MARCH 25TH!
With high-speed internet costs peaking at around $115 per month, internet access is becoming an increasing financial burden for some families. The high cost of internet is also a contributing factor to the digital literacy divide between low-income and middle class families.
To decrease this divide, Comcast has instituted the “Internet Essentials Program”, which will provide six months of free internet to eligible families in the Sacramento area. Families that qualify for Internet Essentials, and are not currently Comcast customers, can receive free internet from Comcast if they apply and are approved for the program by March 18th, 2014.
Families must have at least once child that participates in the National School Lunch Program (a child that receives free and reduced lunch). When approved for the program, participants can get access to low-cost broadband service for $9.95 a month plus tax; the option to purchase an Internet-ready computer for under $150; and multiple options to access free digital literacy training in print, online, and in-person.
Since the start of the program in 2011, 5,150 Sacramento Metro Area families and 25,750 California families have registered for the Internet Essentials program.
Interested families can click here (you will be routed to the internet essentials website), to apply for the Internet Essentials program. Recent updates have made it much easier to access and apply for the internet essentials program, making it more accessible to the closed networks of libraries and community centers.
For more information about Internet Essentials, please visit internetessentials.com, or click here to view the Comcast media room editorial on the program.
It’s the year 2013, and getting away from technology can be nearly impossible! I myself enjoy a challenge, so starting on April 7th, I am ‘unplugging’ myself from the electric world as much as possible. It will definitely be hard, but with the city of Sacramento all around me, I’ll be able to find plenty to do.