Why digital inclusion is essential around the holiday season
Nashville, Tennessee (December 8, 2022) - The holiday season is a special time for many people all over the world. It gives individuals the chance to come together with their family, friends, and community. Unfortunately, many people are not able to experience the joy of the holidays due to a lack of resources to properly celebrate them. Some of those resources include a reliable broadband (high-speed internet) connection and internet-enabled devices to connect to the digital world.
That is why digital inclusion is so important this time of year. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) defines digital inclusion as “individual and community-level access to robust broadband connections; internet-enabled devices that meet their needs; and the skills to explore, create, and collaborate in the digital world.”
Here are some of the reasons why being connected is essential for everyone during the holiday season.
It makes it easier to donate/give back to your favorite charities
The holidays are a great time to give back to those in need. The internet has made it much easier to donate to the causes you care about, no matter their location. According to the Blackbaud Institute, online giving grew 9% year over year in 2021, and 28% of those online contributions were made from a mobile device. Having access to the internet and mobile devices increases your chances of giving back, and allows you a fast and easy opportunity to brighten up someone's holiday who is less fortunate.
Getting in touch with long-distance family members or friends
Nowadays, staying connected and up to date with family and friends is simpler than ever before, thanks to social media channels like Facebook and Instagram. They have made it possible to share photos and messages with family in just a few clicks. According to Pew Research, 69% of adults said they have used Facebook in their lifetime. But what about those who do not have the proper connection or the means to afford a mobile device or computer? No one should be left out of loop due to a lack of resources.
This time of year is one of the busiest for travel. According to PricewaterhouseCoopers, nearly 47% of Americans will travel this holiday season. Before the internet, it was much more complicated and time consuming to book flights. Your only options were to book through a travel agent or go to the airport to select your flight. Now, everything is done online. According to Tripadvisor, 52% of American travelers prioritize the time they devote to travel research over all other factors involved in the booking process. And all of that research is done online, thus showing the clear need for a good internet connection.
Last but not least, you can’t forget about gifts! It’s a tradition for many people to give nice gifts to family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, etc., during the holidays to make them feel special. Today, a lot more gift shopping is being done online. In many cases, some items are not available in brick-and-mortar stores at all and can only be found at outlets like Amazon.com. According to Fit Small Business, more than 263 million American consumers shop online — about 80% of the population. And according to a 2022 Raydiant study on U.S. consumer behavior, 56.6% of survey respondents chose to shop online rather than in person. This trend has been growing for the past several years, and is predicted to only continue to increase in the future. Reliable broadband is a necessity to access all your shopping options.
These are just a few of the reasons why digital inclusion is very important this time of year. Addressing the Digital Divide and increasing digital inclusion efforts is one the main priorities for Connected Nation. Our mission is to improve lives by providing innovative solutions that expand the access, adoption, and use of high-speed internet and its related technologies to all people.
Help us spread the word about closing the Digital Divide so that more families can have a joyful holiday season.
About the Author: Lily McCoy is the Connected Nation Communications and Social Media Specialist. Lily provides support to the Communications Department through social media outreach and writing. She also adds a source of creativity to the team with a background in personal relations and marketing. Lily has a bachelors in corporate and organizational communications from Western Kentucky University.