Summer break may evoke a weekend at the beach, a roadtrip with family, a barbecue in the backyard or countless other activities both inside and outside the home. Regardless of the setting, you can rest assured that our devices are often not far from our side - whether that be a smartphone, tablet or computer.
This is increasingly true for our kids. In fact, a comprehensive 2020 study from Pew Research Center found that roughly one-in-five parents of a child younger than 12 say their child has their own smartphone.
In the bustle of our busy lives, it’s easy to assume our children have the skills to safely and responsibly navigate digital technology. But that doesn’t always come naturally, or without some coaching from an adult in their lives. This can be especially true for families that are new to the internet and devices and don’t know where to start to gain digital skills or what education resources are available.
June is National #InternetSafetyMonth, and at AT&T, one thing we believe is connectivity, summer learning and entertainment can go hand in hand with the right tools for navigating online safely and effectively.
This is especially true for newly connected families and those communities impacted by the digital divide, which are most likely affected by the summer slide- a phenomenon that affects students of color, rural students and low-income students harder. Recognizing the need for dedicated support for students in this space, we kicked off the AT&T Connected Learning Initiative last year, as part of our companywide $2 billion commitment from 2021 to 2023 to help close the digital divide.
We recognize it’s important not only to get families connected to the internet and devices, it’s also important for them to have access to education resources that teach them how to safely and effectively engage in the online world. That’s why we’re investing in digital literacy tools, education resources, broadband technology, low-cost internet service, computers, and more, to help today’s learners succeed wherever they learn – including during the school year and into the summer. This effort builds on our long-standing support for parents and families through education and digital safety initiatives.
If you’re a parent looking for resources for summer learning and how to get started with digital technology, here are a few ready-made resources to help you and your family on your learning journey.
- Let’s start with The Achievery. In March of this year, we launched The Achievery, a free digital learning platform designed to help make online learning more engaging, entertaining and inspiring for K-12 students. According to a 2021 survey, nearly 4 in 5 parents and teachers said that they thought kids or students would be more interested in learning tools that included popular entertainment. We combined kid’s favorite characters with searchable lesson plans and learning activities by subject, grade-level, academic standards or media type.
- Next, AT&T ScreenReady is a free online resource that helps families make safe and positive online connections. It features free digital literacy online courses, quizzes to test your safety knowledge and understanding, and parenting guides that offer expert advice to create an online and entertainment experience that is right for a family’s unique needs.
- Families lacking a connection or computers at home can also beat the summer heat in one of our AT&T Connected Learning Centers around the country. Conveniently housed in local nonprofit facilities operating within underserved communities, our Connected Learning Centers offer free access to the internet and education resources that teach the value of broadband and how to use it safely and effectively. In addition, we are working with device refurbisher non-profits to provide students and families across the U.S. with the computers they need to learn from home.
As our daily lives become increasingly reliant on technology, it’s critical our children are equipped with the online safety skills and educational resources they’ll need for a lifetime. This summer, however you plan to spend time together as a family, we hope you’ll take advantage of these free resources to help ensure you and your kids can connect safely.