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Ethnographic Interviews on the Digital Divide
Unformatted Document Text:  Ethnographic Interviews 8 households were doing their best to insure that their children had the means to attain the computer skills that they believed were necessary for success in the future. Donald Mueller, like other parents in this group, was quite emphatic in his belief that the digital divide was not a serious problem in the United States. Donald, a 30-year- old Anglo-American, was an enthusiastic rebuilder of computers, having refurbished one for his parents and another for use at home by his wife Kathy (27) and his 7- and 3-year- old sons. An engineer who earned between $35,000 and $70,000 a year, Donald noted that he often used his work computer to conduct research on products he was interested in purchasing for his suburban home in a small Southwestern city. When asked whether or not he believed that the digital divide was a problem in the U.S., Donald replied: “Oh yeah. Definitely. But those people choose not to [have a computer]…It’s not a priority.” He related the lack of interest in computers to age, noting that he was in the process of refurbishing a computer for his parents and anticipated that it would be a struggle to teach them the basics of computer use. While age might be a factor, he rejected the idea that the cost and limited access were disincentives, as he noted: I mean, come on, these surplus auctions…if you really want to go to extremes, I mean for less than 100 bucks you can have a computer that you can surf the Net, do your e-mail, and everything like that. Of course, there are some areas that do not have service providers. But even then, if somebody really wants to do something, I don’t care if it’s technology related or…whatever, if they really want to do it, then they will do it.

Authors: Clark, Lynn., Demont-Heinrich, Christof. and Webber, Scott.
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Ethnographic Interviews 8
households were doing their best to insure that their children had the means to attain the
computer skills that they believed were necessary for success in the future.
Donald Mueller, like other parents in this group, was quite emphatic in his belief
that the digital divide was not a serious problem in the United States. Donald, a 30-year-
old Anglo-American, was an enthusiastic rebuilder of computers, having refurbished one
for his parents and another for use at home by his wife Kathy (27) and his 7- and 3-year-
old sons. An engineer who earned between $35,000 and $70,000 a year, Donald noted
that he often used his work computer to conduct research on products he was interested in
purchasing for his suburban home in a small Southwestern city. When asked whether or
not he believed that the digital divide was a problem in the U.S., Donald replied: “Oh
yeah. Definitely. But those people choose not to [have a computer]…It’s not a priority.”
He related the lack of interest in computers to age, noting that he was in the process of
refurbishing a computer for his parents and anticipated that it would be a struggle to teach
them the basics of computer use.
While age might be a factor, he rejected the idea that the cost and limited access
were disincentives, as he noted:
I mean, come on, these surplus auctions…if you really want to go to extremes, I
mean for less than 100 bucks you can have a computer that you can surf the Net,
do your e-mail, and everything like that. Of course, there are some areas that do
not have service providers. But even then, if somebody really wants to do
something, I don’t care if it’s technology related or…whatever, if they really want
to do it, then they will do it.


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