For a reality check on the cost of being highly communicative families, check out a column by Larry Magid, my co-director at ConnectSafely.org, in the San Jose Mercury News. It's so great that Apple lowered the cost of an iPhone by $200 (to $199), but then AT&T "raised the price of the data plan for the new iPhone by $10 a month, which more than wipes out the savings" from the hardware, Larry points out. And that's the point exactly: Look at the cost of service for all our household communication devices and technologies, and try not to pass out. Just talking on the phone costs the highly communicative Magid family "$3,720 a year," not including "extras like international calls or when we go over our allotted cell phone minutes." Then there's Internet service, PC security services, cable TV, TiVo or Netflix, Xbox Live, etc., etc. Larry and I were just talking about what this must look like in other parts of the world – wondering if anybody has calculated how many families in third-world countries could be fed for the amount of money racked up by Net-literate, highly connected US families.
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