Digital media, kids and underprivileged circumstances

I talked about media, advertising, technology and kids the other day. This combination propelled me to think further about how technology and media can improve kids’ lives, since the general sentiment these days is technology is destroying kids lives by invading their privacy, social media participation at such a young age.

Earlier today I reviewed scholarship applications of entering UCLA freshmen, and the stories and essays revealed experiences of hardship, motivation, failure, success and perseverance. It made me think of two things: 1) the setbacks and heartaches that some individuals have gone through compared to others and how those have been transformative to develop them into who they are now, 2) despite all of these setbacks experienced by these brilliant, talented students, they are still very lucky to have had the opportunity to get a good education that enabled them to get admitted to a great school such as UCLA. Many kids haven’t and might never experience what they enjoyed in childhood, and many still don’t have access to basic tech devices (such as a computer, mobile phone, etc) that is now increasingly required to compete in this world.

Those thoughts connected with a project I am hoping to start– to help kids use digital media in a responsible, positive way that enables them in their mental and social development. I would begin my plans and hypothesis by thinking about the needs of kids who already have access to these technology, but today got me thinking that some kids don’t even have access to begin with, and they’re the ones who need help the most.

I’m also finalizing some trip details with my sister as we’re making a trip to Costa Rica in a few weeks. I will be participating in a childcare program to help underprivileged kids in school, orphanages and other centers that provide services to kids. In between walks and waiting for the bus, I realized that these kids are the very individuals I’m thinking about who don’t have access to technology. I’m starting to wonder what I can do in my week in Costa Rica to give them access to technology– probably not at a mass scale yet, but perhaps I can introduce them to educational information and entertainment on my mobile phone. Would they take to that? How will it widen their perspective, transform their lives? How can technology improve their everyday learning, and how can they be given access?

Lots of things to consider, and it is a worthwhile idea to explore.

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