Have you noticed the #NotLovinIt hashtag on Twitter today? It’s part of a campaign by Media Action Grassroots Network to urge health and technology reporters to cover free public WiFi as the healthiest option for our children.

Healthy? How do healthy and free WiFi go together? It seems that students who don’t have access to public WiFi because they don’t have it at home and their public libraries have either closed, reduced hours or don’t have enough computers, are heading to McDonald’s to use its free WiFi.

Media Action has some statistics about school kids and their need for WiFi.

  • 95 percent of districts report that teachers use Web pages to provide info to students.
  • 35 percent of people making less than $25,000 have Internet at home.
  • 87 percent of urban libraries report not having enough computers to meet demand.
  • 96 percent of schools say their teachers assign homework that requires use of the Internet to complete.
When students have to access the Internet to get their homework done, and McDonald’s is their best choice for doing so, it seems there is a need for changes so that free public WiFi is available when it’s needed.

The Wall Street Journal recently reported that students across the country are increasingly working on projects while eating a burger and fries in the McDonald’s dining room.  

On the one hand, I’m glad that these students have some place that they can get their work done. If it wasn’t for these fast-food restaurants with free WiFi, it would be more difficult for them to complete their assignments.

On the other hand, it’s clear that this has got to be as temporary a fix as possible for these students. School systems, communities and governments need to be figuring out how to provide students with free WiFi outside of school so they can get the education they deserve.

Does anyone have any solutions? How do we ensure that access to free WiFi is easy and French fry-free?

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