Wednesday 9 January 2013

Not Enough Children Have Access to the Internet

A recent breakdown by the Office of National Statistics has revealed that over a third of the poorest children in England do not have access to the Internet from their own homes.

Now as we all know, the Internet is more than just a social media tool - it is also a valuable source of information, especially for school children who are often asked to research project on-line and in their own time, as part of their course work. This also applies to children as young as 6 years old (speaking from personal experience).

However, many families struggle to make ends meet as it is, and the extra monthly Internet cost is simply not affordable. This is causing a 'digital divide' between the poorest families and those who can afford home Internet and indeed a computer to run the thing on in the first place.

From a social perspective, lack of Internet can also have an effect on teenagers, often leaving them shut out from their peer group and certainly disadvantaged in their studies. At such an impressionable age it is bound to have a profound effect.

It's not all bad news though as there are charitable organisations set up who will provide drop in centres, which have computer and Internet access facilities. One local to CCS Leeds is the LS14 Trust, who operate a 'digital lounge' and are passionate about the local community.

The question is, given the enormity and importance of the Internet in today's digital age - should the government be addressing this issue and investing money into providing subsidised Internet connections for those who truly can't afford it?

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