Yemi is a NIU living in Ibadan, Nigeria. She knows that smartphones can be used to browse for information, watch videos, and make phone calls, but she doesn’t think that they’re of much use when it comes to things that are really important, like her job. Yemi shares her phone with her daughter, so the time she can spend exploring it or practicing internet skills is limited. Besides, her device isn’t very sophisticated and her mobile data is expensive. Taken together, all these circumstances prevent Yemi from realizing or even understanding the full potential of what the internet has to offer her.
Yemi isn’t alone. Her experience is shared by NIUs all over the world whose digital learning curves are flattened by lack of time, access, and practice, and as a result, they aren’t truly grasping the power of the devices in their hands. Indeed, many of these users would feel no loss if they had to go without the internet, which means they inadvertently leave a tremendous amount of personal benefit, much of it economic, on the table.