My favorite feature of the upcoming 9th edition of the Pregnancy Guide recognizes it is a digital world. You told us that you and your families need print materials since few in your caseloads have computer access or devices to use digital information. Other surveys confirm you’re right.
Poverty and the Digital Divide
In December 2010, 40% of US households, did not have a broadband connection in the home. Lack of access is a marker of poverty. Mississippi is the poorest state and has the highest proportion of households without access, 65%. Similar rates of poverty and no-access are found in AR, TN, WV and OK. Compare to wealthy states led by HI with 74% connected, only 26% with no-access. In cities, there is commonly low access in the urban core suffering poverty while the wealthy suburbs are fully wired.
Still, people find a way to get online
In a survey of over 2000 Mississippi households, 79% said someone in the home had used the Internet. Outside locations included school, workplaces and the local library. In some libraries, free internet service is the biggest draw into the building.
Among the reasons for having no access at home were cost and lack of equipment, but the key reason seemed to be lack of understanding of the value of the Internet. an aspect of low health literacy. Of those without access, 46% said they didn’t need it or were not interested. Others, especially younger, less educated, low income adults said they mostly go online using their smartphones.
Access in steadily increasing
A February 2011 survey found 68% of households with a connection, suggesting significant growth in just a few months. Some of the most rural areas seem to be improving quickly; but the South has shown only modest improvement. The Obama administration has directed billions of economic stimulus dollars to increase Internet access. And some companies have just begun offering low-cost broadband connection to families with a child who qualifies for free school lunch.
Finding reliable information is part of health literacy
Any family expecting a baby has a need for information. Beginnings Pregnancy Guide is intentionally focused on essential health behavior topics directly linked to pregnancy outcomes. Some parents want to know more.
New Resources for Mothers coming to www.BeginningsGuides.comwww.BeginningsGuides.com. The new section provides links to information and resources from reliable sources that Beginnings Guides staff have reviewed and found easy to use. This reduces the need for advanced searching and evaluation skills. We envision the new Resources for Mothers as an easy entry into online self-directed learning about health and an opportunity for parents to improve their health literacy.