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This post is sponsored by 4-H as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central. All opinions expressed are my own.
The Internet and Education.
These two are inseparable right now.
We are living in a strange era currently. We are all trying to educate our kids from home. Teachers are trying to educate their students from behind a computer screen. But, not everyone has access to the internet, computers, or printers. Not all students have the same resources at home. I know it is a huge challenge.
Did you know that more than 24 million people in the U.S. do not have access to broadband internet? Many are in rural communities and cannot get access. Internet is essential in today’s society!
This is not a new challenge. So many of these kids were struggling before schools closed. Already we were a highly digital society, but even more so now.
While I am a home educator, I am a former teacher and I have friends and family members who are teachers. I know the struggles teachers are going through trying to reach all of their students. They are working harder than ever now, which was already a lot!
It’s not just teachers struggling. The students are as well. It’s hard on everyone.
I have had the awesome opportunity this past year to work with 4-H on various STEM topics. (Check out our Hurricane Mapping activity!)
Today, I get to share with you a powerful survey that 4-H did, partnering with Microsoft to learn more about teens and their digital access capabilities.
In this survey, they polled over 1500 youth between the ages of 13-19 nationwide. They wanted to know about the impact having broadband access and other digital skills and how it affects the way they participate in different social, educational and community activities.
How Does Having Reliable Internet Affect Lives?
The results showed that limited high speed internet access can have a long-lasting impact on a teen’s self-confidence, future career opportunities, and their likelihood of attaining financial success.
With everything so focused on technology right now, not having access to broadband internet could really have a negative affect on the lives of many. This is currently one of the only ways to connect with others.
I was fascinated and a little saddened by the results. These kids believe that their future careers and financial success depend on their access to the internet.
Nearly half of these teens have struggled to complete homework assignments due to unreliable internet connections.
Nearly 1 in 4 teens surveyed have unreliable connections on a regular basis. Of those that have reliable access to the internet, 79% of them expect they will have a higher income than their parents int he future. But, only 66% of the teens without reliable access felt the same.
The teens that do not have reliable access to the internet are less confident that they will graduate. and less optimistic about their future careers.
8 in 10 teens believe that having reliable access to high-speed internet could improve their local economy.
If you want to read the full results of the survey, you can find them here.
This survey was done before the current educational closures, but I feel that what’s happening now makes the results even harder to take!
What’s the Solution?
Well it’s not exactly easy, but 4-H is doing their part!
4-H does so much to help kids have access to better educational materials and opportunities. I know that these results will be used to help better the situation.
The National 4‑H Council and Microsoft are working together through the 4‑H Tech Changemakers program to help teens in the 4‑H programs lead digital skills trainings, teach the value of digital tools and find technological solutions to real world problems.
Great right? I love the work they are doing.
What are some other ways we can help these teens feel more empowered in this digital world?