The United States currently has over 287 million internet users; that represents 88.5% of the population.
Mobile devices account for 77% of that usage — and the number is growing exponentially every year.
Worldwide, there are over 900 million Gmail accounts.
There are 310 million active Twitter accounts in the U.S. alone.
There are over 222 million Facebook accounts in the USA.
Just survey your own family:
How many mobile devices do you own and use?
How much time do you spend on emails; on texting; on playing games on the internet?
How much of your daily news do you get online?
And, most importantly, what would you and your family do if the internet were suddenly unavailable to you, and you and your family could no longer access any social media?
Hikingware.com thinks it’s important for you to be prepared for any emergency or disaster. That’s why they offer the best emergency food storage and survival kit brands on the market. But they also know that man does not live by bread alone; you’ve got to be able to communicate with others during an emergency. And social scientists currently are studying the effects on children and teenagers of a sudden and total cessation of access to social media. Their initial results show that those under the age of 20 often become frightened, depressed, and even paranoid when they are suddenly cut off from their social media accounts for longer than 48 hours.
Astro-physicists now say that solar flares of great magnitude could knock out our cell phones and wifi in an instant, and it could take months to repair the damage. Hackers are becoming more and more adept at breaking into even the most secure data banks, and in sowing viruses that could virtually cripple the internet for years to come, making it unsafe to use.
Here are some suggestions to help you maintain your family’s sanity and peace of mind in an offline world:
Children need to maintain a sense of play and fun, even under emergency conditions. Otherwise their health can degenerate alarmingly, including bouts of diarrhea, bedwetting, loss of appetite, rashes, and disturbing mental quirks. Make sure you and your children learn to play and enjoy games such as Monopoly, Scrabble, or Yahtze; insist on playing them at least once a week. That way, if the internet becomes unavailable your family can still find a break from worry and maintain a sense of normalcy.
A starter kit costs as little as $60.00 — if your cell phone won’t work and you don’t have a landline phone (only 33% of Americans still have a landline phone — and that number is dropping rapidly) it may be the only way to communicate long distances.
The National Librarians Association says that reading time for both adults and children has dropped to a mere average of 2 hours per week; in 1965 it was at an average of 20 hours a week. With no TV or movies to stream or social media to entertain and inform, a supply of good books can be a real godsend if you are stuck in your home because of emergency or curfew. Insist that before your children can go online they must read a certain amount of time or a certain amount of books. And make sure you set the example yourself by letting your family see you reading magazines and books.
Don’t depend on debit cards and online banking in an emergency.
Your online banking and debit/credit cards could be compromised at any time. Prepare for that eventuality by keeping a few hundred dollars cash in a baggie in your freezer; paper currency is not affected by cold. Do not hoard thousands at home — that is an invitation to theft and home invasion. But a few hundred dollars in cash kept at home is a prudent strategy for any emergency. Make sure you have it noted and insured on your homeowner’s/renter’s insurance policy.