Why can't India use the internet?
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Women are discouraged from accessing the internet in India, else they may fall victim to exploitation and may stop participating in community events.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to a Pew Research Center poll, as of 2015 only 22 percent of India's adults had internet access.
Despite hosting an enormous population, much of India is without internet access, which prompted the Centre for Communication and Development Studies (CCDS) to conduct a study.
During their study, the CCDS discovered four problems that interfered with India's ability to use the internet:
Nilotpal Chakravarti, a spokesman for Internet and Mobile Association of India told CNN Money, "Across India, the connections are patchy. 3G normally works at the speed of 2G."
Of the few Indians with internet access, there is a 10 percent discrepancy between the number of men and women who use it.
The CCDS discovered women continue to be expected to remain in the home and are not allowed to handle their own finances. Any woman who accesses the internet is usually monitored by one or more male family members.
One woman, who was interviewed as part of the study, admitted her neighbors judge girls using cell phones as the practice "does not look good."
Hutokshi Doctor, CCDS director, stated: "People in our settlement have certain views about girls and the community thinks that if girls are on the mobile, they are not conforming to community culture. There's this conception that the internet is an unsafe space for women, simply because they will be led astray and exploited."
As a poor nation, Indians are not able to purchase internet-connecting devices, so many users stick to smartphones. Even with the cheaper option of a smartphone, most are still unable to afford data plans as the majority of the population earns less than 5,000 rupees ($74) each month.
"They're 18 rupee-packages, 5-rupee packages," Doctor explained. "You can imagine the kind of data transfer that's available."
The lack of access has also led to a great lack of awareness. Several Indians are clueless when it comes to the internet.
"You learn how to use the Internet from your peers," Doctor said. "If your friends are only accessing Facebook, YouTube and Whatapp, then that's where you'll stay."
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