Digital Inclusion for the Child of the Twenty-First Century

Connected Nation has led various initiatives to drive broadband access and adoption for families with children. As digital natives children are growing up in a connected world with an abundance of information at their fingertips. It’s imperative that these kids have access to technology at school and in the household. Inequalities in access at home have given rise to the term “homework gap.”

This relates to the challenge that children from low-income families face in doing homework that requires access to the Internet. As far back as 2009 the Federal Communication Commission’s Broadband Task Force asserted that approximately 70% of teachers reported that they assigned homework that required Internet use. At the same time Connected Nation’s research showed that only 55% of children in low-income households were able to use the Internet at home for schoolwork. Additionally a report published by the Alliance for Excellent Education and the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education in 2014 highlighted that only 3 percent of teachers in high-poverty schools agreed that “students have the digital tools they need to effectively complete assignments while at home,” compared to 52 percent of teachers in more affluent schools.

In order to overcome the broadband access challenge and the homework gap (among many policy interventions needed), Connected Nation supports affordable Internet services programs for low-income families. The following broadband adoption programs are available to eligible families across the country. Click on the organization name to learn more:

AT&T Access

CenturyLink Internet Basics

Spectrum

Comcast Internet Essentials

Cox Communications Connect2compete

Mediacom

Frontier

Over the years Connected Nation has led various programs to help children access broadband including No Child Left Offline, a program that provided computers to thousands of families on the Free and the Reduced Lunch Program and Computers 4 Kids a program that provided laptops to children in the foster care system and to organizations that service children. The legacy of Computer 4 Kids is illustrated in this video:

Related Links:
Digital Inclusion Week: Leaving No One Out of a Connected Nation
Connected Nation at Work
The Evolution of Digital Inclusion at Connected Nation

About the Author: Heather Gate serves as Director of Digital Inclusion for Connected Nation. Heather is responsible for strategy development and implementation of programs that impact Digital Inclusion for all people in all places. Heather provides high-impact project management services including early on identification of program challenges and goals as well as day-to-day program oversight and funding research.  Heather also helps to maintain existing program partner relationships and assists with identification of potential new partners or innovative business opportunities which are in line with the mission of CN’s Digital Inclusion strategy. Heather holds a bachelor of science in computer science, a master’s in computer science, and a master’s in public administration from Kentucky State University.

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