Access to technology such as computers and the Internet can present great challenges for children and their families living in poverty. Here are some thoughts from Yessenia Alfaro, coordinator of CFCA’s project in Santa Ana, El Salvador.
The technological gap between students in developed countries is huge compared to students in developing countries. And the difference between those in cities and those in rural areas is big too.
CFCA scholar Venancia, 20, is studying English in the National University of El Salvador. She says computer skills are essential for academic performance. 'Most of the time we are given homework and (people without computer skills) cannot research for it, therefore they don't study, and if they don't study, they do not get good grades,' she said.
Those in rural areas have less access to learning about technology. Those who do must travel from their communities into the city and pay for Internet and computer access. Those living in the city can easily walk to a cyber cafÈ, for example.
At the same time, students who visit cyber cafÈs are exposed to many other risks. No legal entity monitors these businesses.
They are not created as an educational tool, but will offer any service that customers look for, including access to dangerous websites.
These places are visited by people who want to watch pornography, play online games where predators are connected, as well as those who really want to research or do homework.
Unfortunately, cyber cafÈs sometimes become a dangerous addiction for students rather than a tool for their education.
Students who live in rural areas are much more exposed to these problems because their experience with technology is less, as well as their understanding of these dangers. Read more