Crossing the Data Divide










Receiving the following message, “You have used 75% of your data, and your data cycle ends in fourteen days,” causes much angst for families because an overage in data results in extra charges. Those fortunate people with unlimited data or high-speed Internet do not grasp the magnitude of this dilemma for some families, mine included. My daughter knows that data message has the impact to start a family argument because it ultimately impacts every family member for the next fourteen days.

For data users, webinars and audio streaming are not options. YouTube clips are a treat not a daily occurrence. Social media applications drain data like a leaky faucet, and Netflix is a dream, not a reality.

My family and friends hear my data lamentations often. However, due to this fact of life, I am better equipped to offer solutions to students, teachers, and parents because I truly understand the limitations associated with data. Fortunately, I can also share four solutions to this family frustration.

Solution 1: The Public Library

The public library provides computers with internet access to its users. Most of them also provide free WiFi access. I have used both their computers and their WiFi access with my own device. Note the library hours and pass code access requirements.

Solution 2: Google Drive Offline Feature

Google users can access their Google Drive offline to complete work without an internet access. Think bus, car, train, and plane rides where work can continue, offline. Once the device accesses an Internet connection, all the work done offline, syncs back to the cloud. (Note: To establish the offline component, you have to set it up while you have a WiFi connection.)

Solution 3: Manually Check for Updates

Set your devices, including cell phones, to manual updates. For example, I click on my email apps and manually check for new messages a few times during the day rather than having the device automatically check for updates at frequent intervals. Less data is used. Moreover, this also helps by eliminating frequent notifications, which in turn, increases productivity.

Solution 4: Communication and Organization

Three internet users access the data in my home. However, by communicating the individual data needs, the entire family can make adjustments within their own data usage. For example, an unexpected update to a device used a quarter of the family’s monthly data allotment, in the first three days of the data cycle. That resulted in school projects being done at the library, not at home, because of the limited data. Ultimately, everyone had to adjust and limit their usage.

The choice for data versus high-speed Internet occasionally is not an option. Fortunately, my many experiences with limited data can help your family cross that great data divide one solution at a time.


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