Young people can't access the basic technology they need to thrive

Young people are unable to access the basic technology that they need in order to thrive, according to research.

A study of 700 11-to-17-year-olds revealed almost half don’t have access to adequate technology at home and a third do not have a laptop or computer they can use, leaving millions of young people behind.

According to half of the respondents, it will hinder their ability to succeed in the job marketplace.

It also emerged over a quarter (27 per cent) want access to the latest technology, outside of school and college, however, 70 per cent don’t have access to a youth club or space to access to do so.

Elaine Carey, chief commercial officer, at Three Ireland and Three UK, which commissioned the research, said: “Access to technology and connectivity has never been more important for young people across the UK.

“It has become an integral part of their day-to-day life, from aiding them in their studies, to providing them with a creative outlet or simply in communicating with their friends out of school.

“However, the digital divide very much remains.”

Access to tech was identified by youth club attendees as a key benefit. Three quarters of them wished their youth club could provide access to digital tech, and 59% stated that a lack of technology will lead to social isolation.

Thousands attend youth clubs across the UK and it’s a government priority, with £380m pledged to ensure that by 2025, every young person in England has access to regular out of school activities.

Youth clubs are attended by 43% to meet new people and socialize, and 42% to study for school or homework.

OnePoll polls show that 40% of respondents value their youth club as a safe place outside their home.

This sentiment was supported by 93% of youth club attendees, who believe that these venues are important to the fabric and health of local communities.

In light of these findings, Three has launched a pilot campaign to supercharge three youth clubs across Leeds and Birmingham with its high speed 5G Wi-Fi and Lenovo tablets: Hall Green Youth Centre and Shard End Youth Centre – both based in Birmingham – and the Hamara Centre based in Leeds.

Elaine Carey added: “We wanted to look at how we could support young people who might not have access to the tech they need at home.

“We’re really excited about partnering with the Hamara Centre, Hall Green and Shard End on this initiative; both in providing them with connectivity and technology and in supporting the incredible work that they are already doing for the local community.”

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Access to the resource

It was also revealed that AirPods and wireless headphones were most desired tech piece by young Brits. 38% of those surveyed wanted one.

Young people are more likely to own smart TVs, tablets, and printers than they are to have high-speed internet access. However, only 33% of them said they had access.

Despite connectivity being the top tech piece young adults believe they need, this was despite it being their most important piece.

Jules Lancaster, senior youth worker at Shard End Youth, one of the three organisations supported by the project, added: “Shard End Youth Centre has played a vital role for the local community for more than 50 years and has continued to evolve to meet the needs of young people.

“However, we know that technology is one area that we have not been able to keep pace with.

“Our internet is poor and our computers are years old, we’re therefore absolutely delighted with this excellent initiative.

“Everyone is so excited about using the tablets and having access to high-speed internet, so we’ve no doubt that it will be a game-changer for us.”

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