Wednesday Waste: The Cycle

Wednesday Waste | May 30, 2012

Currently the Federal Communications Commission encourages broadband and cable Internet provides make their services available to all customers in their areas, except for cases with unreasonable costs. Inevitably, this decreased what had been deemed the “digital divide,” but at an obvious cost to companies and the government, which provided tax credits to offset those costs. However, a new study has shown that many of those who have access to digital information use it for entertainment instead of education as was intended.

To fix this problem the FCC is considering forwarding a proposal of $200 million to start a digital literacy corps. According to The New York Times, the corps would spend its funds to pay hundreds of trainers to fan out to schools and libraries to teach productive uses of computers for students. The program is intended to fix the widening use of digital devices for entertainment purposes instead of productive or educational purposes. Speaking of the now-growing number of students who use their devices for entertainment instead of education, Ms. Boyd, a senior researcher at Microsoft, said, “We failed to account for this ahead of the curve,” referring to the effort to increase digital access to all.

While internet access, digital access, and ensuring people have the tools they need to succeed are important, anyone who has spent any time on a computer or with a person under the age of 30 will understand that this program is unnecessary. Software and online platforms like Facebook are designed to be easy to learn, making them easy to monitor for parents. But instead of allowing parents and adults to actively take the lead on monitoring the youths’ of the nation use of their electronic devices, the FCC feels that a $200 million program to encourage everyone to use their devices for education is an easier solution.

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