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  • Britney Ming

The Digital Divide


Lack of access to education has been a global issue among youths for a long time.

Nowadays, that issue has undoubtedly gotten worse.

In years past, people have underestimated the importance of students having a computer and access to the internet at home. While more people have now come to understand their importance, the issue is still affecting the lives of many.

Today, we will highlight some of the issues affecting youths who do not have access to digital education.


1.Gaps in their education


Due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, there has been a huge increase in the use of online teaching methods. However, the lack of access to education has gotten even worse as many youths are deprived of a chance at digital education due to not having a basic digital device such as a laptop. Ultimately, this leads to “gaps” in their education that may eventually negatively impact their learning(Karlin R., 2019).

We can all agree that, for students, learning continues even after physical school has ended for the day. Teachers give students assignments so that they can better understand the lessons they learned at school through self-learning and studying. However, for millions of students across the United States who lack consistent access to the internet and/or a computer at home, that is not the case (USAFacts, 2020). They are unable to continue their studies due to the lack of consistent access to the internet and/or a computer at their home.


2. Increase in mental illness in youths

Additionally, adolescents have developed mental health issues resulting from not having devices to access the internet. Due to COVID-19, adolescents who do not have access to a computer are seen to develop mental health issues as they are unable to interact with others online, especially during lockdowns( Thomas, D. L., 2021). Similarly, an increase in illnesses such as depression and psychological distress among adolescents has been attributed to the mental stress and physical confinement caused by COVID-19.


3. Digital education at school may help prevent low-income students from dropping out of school


Teachers have noticed that the use of digital education in the classrooms resulted in an overall increase in learning. Also, low-income students would be more eager to learn and participate in class activities. However, schools that had little or no computers showed an increase in the number of low-income students that dropped out of school (Philadelphia Children's Foundation, n.d.).

In summary, the lack of access to a computer and the internet negatively impacts the lives of youths. Due to COVID-19, a lack of digital education at home has hindered some students from having any access to education. Similarly, students that lack access to a computer and the internet have been seen to develop mental illnesses. In addition, classrooms that have access to digital education have shown a decrease in the number of low-income students that drop out of school.



References

Karlin, R. (2019, June 12). Lack of internet, computers challenges poor, rural students. Times Union. Retrieved June 15, 2022, from https://www.timesunion.com/news/article/Lack-of-internet-computers-poses-challenges-for-13959705.php

Philadelphia Children's Foundation. Lack of technology. (n.d.). Retrieved June 15, 2022, from https://phillykids.org/about-p-c-f/lack-of-technology/

Thomas, D. L. (2021, December 7). Lack of computer access in COVID predicts lower mental health among adolescents. News. Retrieved June 14, 2022, from https://www.news-medical.net/news/20211206/Lack-of-computer-access-in-COVID-predicts-lower-mental-health-among-adolescents.aspx#:~:text=The%20latent%20growth%20curve%20modeling,computer%20access%20by%20November%202020.

USAFacts. (2020, October 19). More than 9 million children lack internet access at home for online learning. USAFacts. Retrieved June 15, 2022, from https://usafacts.org/articles/internet-access-students-at-home/




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