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The digital divide: 49% of kids lack access to tech for school

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Education has moved online, yet more than a million children have limited or no access to technology at home.

Findings from Finder's upcoming Parenting Report* which surveyed 1,033 Aussie parents of children under 12 revealed almost half (49%) cannot provide regular access to devices required for their children's education. That's the equivalent of 1.2 million families.

The report found 1 in 7 (15%) aren't able to provide access to a computer or tablet when their kids need them for school. A further 1 in 3 (34%) parents can only "sometimes" provide their kids with access to tech needed for their education.

Finder has partnered with not-for-profit Good360 Australia to redistribute 1 million business laptops to Australians in need and raise $10 million to cover refurbishment costs by the end of 2025 through the Laptop Launchpad initiative.

Good360 is Australia's largest online marketplace connecting businesses' unsold brand-new goods to Australians in need. Its network has over 3,500 charities and disadvantaged schools Australia-wide. They order the goods they need from Good360's website with the ease of 24/7 access, saving time and precious budget.

Finder's founder, Fred Schebesta said online learning has transformed the way we study and work, yet many are disadvantaged by not having adequate access to technology at home.

"Technology has transformed the way we learn and connect with each other. However, there are thousands of Australian kids who could be falling behind in their education, and find themselves unable to participate in this digital world."

Schebesta said through the Laptop Launchpad initiative, he hopes to bridge the divide and diminish the barrier between those with access to the internet and those without.

"We hope through this initiative we can give Australians equal opportunity to access the wealth of information that is on the internet and develop new ideas and innovations," Schebesta said.

Organisations pledged to donate laptops to the worthy cause include ASUS, HP, investment firm Shape Capital and Sydney recruitment agency Big Wave Digital.

"COVID-19 has increased the digital divide, the people who benefit from the digital age and people who don't. There are over 4,000 disadvantaged schools (ACRA count) Australia-wide, which includes vulnerable communities of low-income households," stated founder and managing director of Good360, Alison Covington.

"The teachers at these schools do not have the funding to provide laptops to assist students' learning and parents cannot afford the devices to help their children keep up with learning outcomes at home. Good360 wants to work with the business sector to address this overwhelming need.

"The digital divide will only increase while the most vulnerable of Australians are digitally excluded. Our partnership with Finder is critical to helping these students stay digitally connected and equal to their peers," Covington said.

Do your children have access to the computers/tablets needed for their education?
No, I can rarely spare my computer or tablet when my kids need them.3%
No, we don't have the laptops or tablets required in our household.12%
Sometimes, my kids use my computer or tablet when needed.34%
Yes, my kids have their own computer/tablet.51%
Source: Finder's Parenting Report 2022 of 1,033 parents of children under the age of 12.
*The Finder Parenting Report will be published in early 2023.

Want to know more about the Laptop Launchpad? Find out how your business can get involved.

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