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3 Million UK Children Still Without Computers or Broadband ISP Internet Access

Posted: 28th Dec, 2010 By: MarkJ
ukA disturbing new report from the e-Learning Foundation, an education charity, has revealed that approximately 3 million UK children live in households without either computers (1 million) or internet access (2 million).

The data was mined from the latest Government Family Spending Survey, which found that children in the lowest income households were two and a half times more likely to be without an internet connection than the wealthiest.

Valerie Thompson, CEO of the e-Learning Foundation, said:

"With so many children swamped with gifts from family and friends over the Christmas period it is important we reflect on the fact that millions of children live in poverty in this country.

For those at school, this translates into very tangible disadvantages when it comes to completing homework, researching topics, independent learning and communicating with teachers and classmates on the school learning platform.

Without the use of a computer and the ability to go online at home the attainment gap that characterises children from low-income families is simply going to get worse."

Earlier this month the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) and the New Policy Institute revealed similar findings, which identified that 3.5 Million children in the UK were living in poverty. In the most recent Minimum Income Standard report, computers with internet were also seen as essential for households with working-age adults but not for pensioners.

The JRF report also found that, by mid-2010, almost 2.5m people in the UK were still unemployed, slightly more than in 2009. In total, around 6m were unemployed, 'economically inactive' but wanting work, or employed part-time and unable to find full-time work.

The results show continuing high levels of poverty in the UK not just in families where no adults work (1.6m children), but also sometimes where there is a working adult in the family (2.1m). It's no wonder that families struggle to provide their children with the basic tools, such as a computer or internet access.

Sadly many services, such as banking, phones and utilities offer discounts for internet only users, with exclusion from these causing many problems. Similarly the government is driving more and more services into an online only mould, which can only exasperate the problems.

According to the JRF report, a household is deemed to be in poverty if its income is less than 60% of median household income for the year in question. In 2008/09, 60% of median income was worth, per week, £119 for a single adult or £161 for a lone parent with one child under 14.
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