by Amber Davis
- There’s a new dimension to the push to get more low-income consumers digitally connected, particularly African Americans and Latinos: making sure that access goes beyond entertainment.
- According to a new Kaiser study, children from low-income families spend more time watching TV, playing videogames and engaging with social networks than their well-off peers. The children of parents without a college degree get 11.5 hours of media exposure daily — up by almost 5 hours since 1999. Educators and advocates think it’s affecting student achievement (NYTimes.com, 29 May 2012).
- Study author Vicky Rideout says that connectivity efforts aren’t enough: “Instead of closing the achievement gap, they’re widening the time-wasting gap.”
- The FCC is considering a $200 million digital literacy project to help schools and community organizations teach students and parents about more productive tech use.
WHAT THIS MEANS TO BUSINESS
- Monitoring tech can be a tall order for overworked parents — especially when it comes to the mobile devices that African American and Latino kids rely on most to stay connected. Tools or strategies to help them make sure that kids get the educational, not just entertainment, benefits out of connectivity is key.
- All forms of connectivity are not created equal. Playing games and watching videos are easier to do on mobile devices than, say, writing an essay or rounding up research. So, for kids who lack easy, habitual access to broadband and a laptop or desktop computer, the online world may just seem like a place to play.
- Optimizing educationally enriching content for the devices that low-income students use most is one way to close this so-called “time-wasting” gap.