Is having no Internet access actively problematic yet?

At the party on Saturday night somebody mentioned that their job had banned all email access, so there was no point emailing her any more. Two other people chipped in that they were in similar situations. It took me a moment to understand what they meant – it was like being told they no longer had a phone number. I’m so used to email as my primary method of communication that I forget it’s not a given that everybody checks it on a daily basis. How many people do you know who aren’t contactable via email? I can’t think of many, but almost all are in my age group. I guess that there are plenty of people with no interest in computers who don’t want / can’t afford to get a machine once they leave home, so rely on their job to access emails. I probably get a skewed impression of norms because most people I communicate with are by definition online.

It’s the implied lack of any kind of internet access that seems even more bizarre. I guess it’s because everything I do is strongly linked to the Internet, but I can’t help having the initial reaction that they’re missing out. If I think back over the last month, over the number of get-togethers arranged by email, or Strictly Come Dancing tickets, NaNoWriMo, finding old friends over Facebook, finding out about dancing medals, sharing photos on Flickr, reading about and discussing BA’s crazy uniform policies – everything was done online. Sure, most of it would have been possible without, but in many cases it’s the difference between a moment’s idle curiosity and actively planning in advance.

I’m aware that’s snobby of me, and I know I’ve been lucky in everything I have and always have had access to, but surely life’s going to become increasingly difficult without any kind of regular internet access, isn’t it? Or am I blinded by my own experience?