Fingers on a laptop keyboard

Most households today have an Internet connection but a new study finds that 23 percent of low-income families rely on mobile-only access with data limits, while 52 percent experience interruptions and poor service with their mobile plans. This “underconnectivity” has a big impact on economic and learning opportunities for families. We’ll discuss the study, which comes out of the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop.

Digital Divide Persists Despite Widespread Mobile Access, According to Study 9 February,2016forum

Guests:
Victoria Rideout, president of VJR consulting; co-author of the report "Opportunity for All? Technology and Learning in Lower-Income Families"
Vikki Katz, associate professor of communication at Rutgers University, and senior research scientist at the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop; co-author of the report "Opportunity for All? Technology and Learning in Lower-Income Families"

  • Drago

    Why is a lack of Internet access a bad thing? I’ve been an Internet user since the early 90’s and I can tell you that surfing the Web or otherwise going online is most often a unhealthy and unwise activity. It definitely hasn’t become the shared utopia I had hoped for. It’s a morass of scammers, censors, schemers and spin, and in case you missed it, the so-called “killer app” of the Internet is mass surveillance, which 90% of Silicon Valley is eager to support. Dossiers are constantly being assembled on each and every Internet user by governments and companies, and increasingly the data about you is indefinitely saved. And speaking of false utopias, don’t get me started about the myriad Facebook fakers and iPhone phonies who pretend to be nice, successful people online but in person are narcissistic monsters.

    • Sriram G

      I agree it’s debatable whether Internet access is a good thing or not. Whether we like it or not, education today is highly reliant on Internet access. Most of my daughter’s school work is done via Google Docs. Kids are expected to have certain proficiency in typing. Standardized testing in schools are on computers now. Not having access to a computer at home will increase the achievement gap.

      • Livegreen

        It can be useful however too, including for students. For example, my son who attends an Oakland MS got interested in the Rubik’s Cube. Neither of his parents know how to do it, and the book we bought at the Exploratorium wasn’t much help either. So he found lessons on You Tube, taught himself different algorithms he picked up there, and has been exploring different ones to keep progressing. Within two months of starting he is down to under 1 minute. He’s also picking up other puzzles, etc as a result of these positive online experiences…

        • kpwn

          There is plenty of garbage on YouTube, but tutorials were the first useful videos I found.

      • kpwn

        schools should allow submitting work either by ssl upload or encrypted attachment. schools shouldn’t be delivering children into the arms of google.

    • kpwn

      defend yourself.
      Otherwise I agree, in that I have tried undefended setups, and soon feel like I would tear out even my armpit hair, if I were a cartoon character.

  • Mehul Shah

    First world problem ?

    • Sriram G

      Not so Mehul – see my response above for why Internet access and a decent computer at home is a necessity for kids to do well in school.

  • Livegreen

    Comcast has a program to help lower income students get high speed internet access. They do this through low income School Districts like OUSD. The only challenge at last check is it’s for families who haven’t had Comcast for a certain amount of time b/f they sign up. This should be changed for those who are already sacrificing, but it’s better than nothing.

  • Livegreen

    The FCC policy of assisting low income students & families get internet access was in part influenced by visiting one of Oakland’s best, most diverse Middle Schools, Edna Brewer MS:

    http://ednabrewer.net/2014/01/10/brewer-students-may-have-just-affected-national-policy/

  • Internet for All Now

    As the authors of the study said, there’s too much of a patchwork for access to affordable Internet. The FCC will decide next month whether to expand the “Lifeline” program (established under Ronald Reagan and extended under George W Bush) to high-speed Internet. For those who want to get behind this, go to: http://www.internetforallnow.org/take_action_today

Sponsored by

Become a KQED sponsor