Activism is the best way to close the gap between what poor people need from the Web and what actually is offered.
That’s the opinion of the Christian Science Monitor, which said in a recent editorial that the existing gap between blacks and whites in computer ownership and Internet access is closing.
Within five years, the newspaper says, low computer prices and competition among Internet service providers will let everyone go online who has the desire to do so.
Government aid, through schools and business, can help hurry this process along, the newspaper says, but the market will take care of most of the gap by itself.
A bigger problem is that once low-income users get on the Web, they don’t find what they want, the Monitor says.
According to a recent survey by The Children’s Partnership in Santa Monica, Calif., low-income and minority users want local job, housing and educational information.
Most Web pages are aimed at a national audience, however, and have little local content.
Activists should step in and start local Web pages and services, the Monitor says. Local information will benefit not only minority and low-income users, but will be useful to the entire community.