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August 2004

 

e-Buddies: Bridging the Digital Divide

 

For most of us, computers and the Internet have changed and improved our lives in many ways. In addition to the obvious practical benefits, including increased access to news and information, the Internet is also a way to reach out to a whole new community of people that was not previously within reach.

Through e-Buddies, we hope to use this new technology to build lasting friendships that would not otherwise have been possible. Thanks to all of our great e-Buddies participants, we have succeeded in doing just that.

Yet there is still work to be done. According to a report issued by the Disability Statistics Center at the University of California, San Francisco (http://dsc.ucsf.edu/) in 2000, “Americans with disabilities are half as likely as their non-disabled counterparts to own a computer, and they are about one-quarter as likely to use the Internet” (http://dsc.ucsf.edu/publication.php?pub_id=6).

The National Organization on Disability (www.nod.org) estimates that “only 28.4% of Americans with disabilities have access to the Internet at home or work, compared to 56.7% of those without disabilities. Almost 60% of Americans with disabilities have never even used a personal computer, compared to less than 25% of Americans without disabilities” (http://www.nod.org/content.cfm?id=979).

In recent years, however, things have been changing for the better. A study by the National Organization on Disability (http://www.nod.org/content.cfm?id=682) found that the rate of home Internet use among adults with disabilities rose more than 400% in the 2-½ years between December 1998 and June 2001. This was compared to a growth of 200% among persons without disabilities.

At e-Buddies, we are so proud to have your help in our efforts to empower persons with disabilities. We hope to continue forward together as part of this growing movement for many years to come. Thank you.

Have a tech question about e-Buddies? Send questions or comments to Bill Maurer at BillMaurer@bestbuddies.org.


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