The Internet has become a tool that is accessible to and adopted by Americans in communities across the nation. Approximately two million more people become Internet users every month, and over half of the population is now online. Those who have been the least traditional users –people of lower income levels, lower education levels, or the elderly – are among the fastest adopters of this new technology. As a result, we are more and more becoming a nation online: a nation that can take advantage of the information resources provided by the Internet, as well as a nation developing the technical skills to compete in our global economy.
The expanding use of the Internet at schools, work, and libraries has played a significant role in this development. Young people are now active users of this technology. This report has demonstrated that the presence of computers and Internet access at schools is making these resources available to children who lack them at home. This means that our children will gain the skills and familiarity with new technologies that will allow them to find jobs in our new economy.
In addition, many more Americans than in years past are using computers and the Internet at work. Certain jobs that previously involved only manual labor, for example, now involve some use of information technologies. Proficiency with these technologies has become increasingly important, and adults are gaining such proficiency as more use information technologies at work and find new opportunities for using them at home.
Our nation has passed a significant milestone now that the majority of Americans use computers and the Internet for their daily activities. This trend is enriching our world, facilitating our work lives, and providing a skill set needed for a growing economy.