Our goal as a nation should be for every child in Public Housing to have an ereader or iPad or some form of portable screen with internet access. Our goal should be to insure that children growing up with the least advantages economically have more not less educational advantages.
An iPad is cheaper than most computers. It’s portability allows a child to use it outside rather than tethered inside an apartment that may not have working air conditioning. Aside from providing access to teachers, libraries and educational programs a device like this allows parents on assistance to shop grocery stores for the best deals and sales in order to make their food stamps go further, search for jobs and apply for unemployment more easily, and search for and apply for social services they may not have been aware of that can help their families.
As a nation we should be working tirelessly to prevent a digital poverty line by requiring companies to donate or provide affordable broadband, WiFi hot spots, ereaders and tablet in poor communities across the country.
Incidentally, the cost of an iPad is not an amount of money that’s preventing this kid’s family from owning or renting private housing, having insurance, higher education, etc. What does an iPad cost—$450-$600? Sounds like a deal for the access to reading material, innovative software, and self-taught computer literacy involved.
This is what people who aren’t poor, who criticize the poor for having basic technology, never get. What does a cell phone cost? Mine was free with my calling plan—about $65 a month. That’s not an amount of money that would buy me private insurance or allow me to move into safe and decently maintained housing. A laptop—$500 to $1000? That doesn’t even brush the cost of a bachelor’s degree anymore; that’s possibly a semester’s worth of books and pizza. “If you can’t afford not to be on public assistance, then you shouldn’t be able to afford [pretty much whatever] doesn’t hold up at all when you really look at the amounts of money involved.
$450 would not allow that family to not be on public assistance for a sustainable amount of time, but that iPad could very well be an educational lifeline for that kid.