There are clear differences between how rich and poor children use technology, according to research from OECD.
The study was part of the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), a global survey of 15-year-olds’ proficiency in maths, science and reading. It found that the socio-economic differences which dictate how young people use the internet strongly affect their academic performance.
The report revealed that wealthier children were more likely to use computers to get information, while poorer youngsters used them more often to play games or message friends.
Many northern European countries, such as the UK, the Netherlands and the Nordic countries show high levels of internet access among all social groups. However, although the report highlighted that “equal access does imply equal opportunities”, the report claimed more disadvantaged students are less likely to be able to capitalise on online opportunities. “They may not have the knowledge or skills required to turn online opportunities into real opportunities,” said the study.
The report argues that more must be done to close the “digital gap”. It suggested that improving literacy levels could help many children use the internet more effectively for learning.