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NC students face digital divide at home without internet

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Yolanda Ames sits outside her Grier Heights apartment Wednesday, August 5, 2020. Ames, who canÕt afford the internet, is among half of households in her neighborhood in Charlotte with no internet subscription.

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This report is brought to you by The North Carolina News Collaborative, a coalition of 22 newspapers across the state. This occasional series, Bouncing Back: North Carolina’s Economic Journey to Recovery, is made possible through a grant from The Pulitzer Center.

Yolanda Ames and her boys live in a crowded apartment on a dead end street in East Charlotte’s Grier Heights.

Wires that could bring the world — and her boys’ classrooms — into her home zigzag between poles across her neighborhood.

But that world comes at too steep a cost for Ames. On a muggy afternoon this month, she had about $25 in her bank account, a vague notion of what she could make

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Growing Up Digital, Wired for Distraction

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. — On the eve of a pivotal academic year in Vishal Singh’s life, he faces a stark choice on his bedroom desk: book or computer?

By all rights, Vishal, a bright 17-year-old, should already have finished the book, Kurt Vonnegut’s “Cat’s Cradle,” his summer reading assignment. But he has managed 43 pages in two months.

He typically favors Facebook, YouTube and making digital videos. That is the case this August afternoon. Bypassing Vonnegut, he clicks over to YouTube, meaning that tomorrow he will enter his senior year of high school hoping to see an improvement in his grades, but without having completed his only summer homework.

On YouTube, “you can get a whole story in six minutes,” he explains. “A book takes so long. I prefer the immediate gratification.”

Students have always faced distractions and time-wasters. But computers and cellphones, and the constant stream of stimuli they

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