Pew Research Center
People in the United States and around the world are turning to the internet to do their work and stay connected with others as the COVID-19 outbreak forces people to stay home and away from the office and crowds. A median of 77% across 34 countries use the internet at least occasionally or own an internet-enabled smartphone, according to a spring 2019 Pew Research Center survey. But there are stark digital divides. Younger people, those with higher incomes and those in wealthier countries are more likely to be digital technology users.
As the spread of COVID-19 upends work, classes and even doctor appointments across the country, a majority of Americans are turning to digital means to stay connected and track information about the outbreak. Amid this increased reliance, about nine-in-ten US adults (93%) say that a major interruption to their internet or cellphone service during the outbreak would be a problem in their daily life, including 49% who foresee an outage being a very big problem for them and 28% who believe it would be a moderately big problem.
As K-12 officials in many states close schools and shift classes and assignments online due to the spread of the new coronavirus, they confront the reality that some students do not have reliable access to the internet at home – particularly those who are from lower-income households. Here are key findings about the internet, homework and how the digital divide impacts American youth: