Under-connected in America: How Lower-Income Families Respond to Digital Equity Challenges
with Vikki S. Katz, Associate Professor, School of Communication and Information at Rutgers University
Tuesday, May 17, 2016 at 12:00 pm Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University Harvard Law School campus Wasserstein Hall, Room 2009
While 94% of parents raising school-age children below the U.S. median household income have an Internet connection, more than half are “under-connected,” in that their Internet connection is too slow, has been interrupted in the past year due to non-payment, and/or they share their Internet-connected devices with too many people. Katz will discuss how being under-connected impacts the everyday lives of lower-income parents and children, how parents assess the risks and rewards that connectivity can offer their children, and the implications of under-connectedness for policy development and program reform. She draws from two linked datasets of lower-income parents with school-age (grades K-8) children that she has collected since 2013: in-depth interviews with 336 parents and children in three states, and a telephone survey of 1,191 parents—the first nationally representative survey of this U.S. demographic.
Vikki Katz is an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication, and Affiliate Graduate Faculty in the Department of Sociology, at Rutgers University. She conducts research on immigrant and low-income families’ efforts to access U.S. social institutions, resources, and opportunities, with a particular interest in how digital equity issues affect these experiences. Her current projects are funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Russell Sage Foundation. Her findings have been published in journals including American Behavioral Scientist, Journal of Communication, and Social Problems, and she is author of Kids in the Middle: How Children of Immigrants Negotiate Community Interactions for their Families (Rutgers U Press, 2014) and co-author of Understanding Ethnic Media: Producers, Consumers, and Societies (Sage, 2011). She is also a Senior Research Fellow at the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop, and serves on the PBS Ready to Learn Advisory Board as a Community Engagement expert. She holds a B.A. from UCLA, and an M.A. and Ph.D. from the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California.