Teenagers and the Digital Divide
By Brenda Stephens
Pew Research Center's Statistics Conclusions
This research was conducted in 2012 so the numbers would probably be even higher today. Other statistics from the survey reflect, “Of the teachers surveyed, 84 percent agree with this statement: “”Today’s digital technologies are leading to greater disparities between affluent and disadvantaged schools and school districts.’” A student who doesn’t have a smartphone is truly missing valuable practice using and integrating technology in learning. Smartphones are a useful tool for learning and seem to becoming a necessary component to learning in the 21st century. Cell phones however can’t take the place of a computer or Internet access.
Family Income Factors
This chart reveals that even if a teacher or librarian teaches in a school with a mix of lower and middle-income families, 30 – 40 percent of students will not have Internet access at home.
If an adolescent does not have access to the Internet and a personal electronic device, he or she will not be able to practice with technology tools necessary to be successful and thrive in the 21st century. The digital divide begins with lack of access to Internet and devices, but then extends to lack to digital literacy in using technology tools. The teacher and librarian working with school administrators and politicians can help bridge the digital divide for adolescents. The founder of Chicago's pioneering Digital Youth Network describes how the urban schools partner with the local library to provide teens access to technology. The results are impressive and inspiring!
A Bill is Being Reviewed
Resources for Further Information
use and digital literacy in secondary classrooms- Cell phones can be a distraction in classrooms. This article documents research completed by one high school which has found methods to use digital technology successfully in classrooms as a learning tool rather than a distraction from learning.
The US Digital Divide: A Call for a New Philosophy- The history of the digital divide is provided, updating the digital divide issues for the 21st century. Sharon Strover stresses the importance of equal access to technology, especially for economically disadvantaged individuals.