Apr 8, 2020 - Technology

Exclusive: Campaign aims to get students connected

Three young students taking class on laptop computers

Dutch students taking classes at home during the pandemic. Photo: Robin Utrecht/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Common Sense Media is urging Congress to use the next round of coronavirus relief legislation to make sure all U.S. students can connect to the internet.

The big picture: The campaign, dubbed "Connect All Students," comes as a poll from the group and SurveyMonkey finds that teens are worried they'll fall behind in school due to the pandemic. The campaign launch and poll results were shared exclusively with Axios.

What they're saying: Jim Steyer, CEO of Common Sense, which focuses on the impact of tech and media on kids, said in a statement: “With the majority of kids now learning  from home instead of school and, as this poll indicates, struggling to keep connections with teachers, the nation is confronting a huge equity challenge."

  • "That’s why Common Sense is calling on Congress to connect all students by providing emergency funds to close the digital divide once and for all," he added.

By the numbers: The survey, which polled 849 U.S. teenagers between March 24 and April 1, found that more than half of students whose in-person classes have been canceled — and some 95% of respondents reported canceled classes — worried about not being able to keep up with schoolwork and extracurricular activities.

  • Black and Hispanic teens were significantly more likely than white teens to report concern, and girls were more likely than boys to do so.
  • The survey also found that 65% of teens reported texting or talking on social media with friends or family more than usual during the pandemic. Texting, phone calls, social media and video chats were the top ways students reported staying connected.
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