On Thursday, August 19, Washingtonian brought together experts to discuss the impact that technology can have on the lives of today’s children. From smartphones to smart homes, kids are getting exposed to technology at even earlier ages, and with the global pandemic, more time inside the home can mean more screen time. The conversation explored what parents should consider when thinking about what technology their children need, how a smart home could help children excel, how early is too early for children to use technology, and more.
Washingtonian Senior Editor Marisa Kashino kicked off the conversation with a question on the prevalence of technology in children’s lives today, and the implications of that much technology at such an early age. Verizon’s Marketing Executive Director Arturo Picicci discussed 3 key factors for having good home connectivity: better coverage, speed and upload speed. “In the virtual world, you are going to want a good download, but also a good upload speed. The upload speed is usually a disclaimer – you don’t see it, but if you have a poor upload speed, kids can’t do as well in school. Upload speed is key.”
Monica Anderson, Pew Research Center’s Associate Director of Research, spoke about the digital divide and how COVID has surfaced examples of the impact a lack of digital access has on young people. “PEW Surveyed parents of school-age children about some of the challenges that they were concerned their kid could face if they had to do all of their schoolwork at home. There were particular differences by income. Lower income parents were concerned about the likelihood of their children not being able to complete their homework. About 40% of lower income parents said that they were concerned that their child would have to do work on a cell phone. A similar share said the same thing with having to find public wifi because they didn’t have reliable internet at home and about a third of parents cited not having a reliable computer and being concerned that their child wouldn’t be able to complete homework.”
Lesley Rohrbaugh, Director of Market Research at the Consumer Technology Association continued the conversation about home connectivity by sharing the number of households connecting to mesh networks or whole home wifi systems. “In our annual US Consumer Technology Ownership and Market Potential study we found that 31% or almost a third of households in the US now own a mesh network that extends the wireless throughout the home and 17% plan to purchase one within the next 12 months.”
Thank you to Verizon for supporting this conversation! Missed it? You can watch the full conversation below:
Want to learn more? Click below for more studies from the Pew Research Center:
Parenting in the Age of Screens
53% of Americans Say the Internet Has Been Essential During the COVID-19 Outbreak