Computers have undoubtedly revolutionized the way we live in both the workplace and at home and will continue to do so. Therefore, if people remain computer illiterate they will be clearly disadvantaged. This may be especially true in terms of business and employment opportunities, education and even in maintaining interpersonal relationships.
Some people argue that the influence of computers is de-humanizing and the availability of information and communications in particular is overwhelming and even changing the way we think. However, to use this as a reason to not become computer literate is illogical. History is marked by ‘paradigm shifts’, or events and changes in human thinking and behavior that mark a progression from old to new with those unable to adapt being left behind. An example of this is the ‘machine breaker’ or ‘Luddite’ movement in England in the nineteenth century when people who feared the spread of industrial machines, organized mobs to smash machines wherever they found them. If we had listened to people like that who feared progress, then the industrial revolution would not have happened. Surely the ‘computer age’ is another shift and despite arguments about whether this is good or bad, it has become necessary to be able to use computers to be part of this age. In any social group, if a person cannot use a particular tool, they are deprived of participation in that group. In many ‘social groups’ like the business community, higher education faculty or civil service workers, computer literacy is essential. Therefore, the inability to use computers limits access to these groups.
Even in our personal lives computers have begun to re-create the way we handle our interpersonal relationships. Indeed, in this changing world those who cannot use the technology will be disadvantaged. Technology such as Skype and social networking facilities such as Facebook and Twitter are all dependent on familiarity with computer and communication...
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