Smartphones for children from low-income families in the Netherlands
In partnership with the Ministry of Social Affairs, the Leergeld Den Haag foundation, the mobile telephony provider T-Mobile and Samsung, the municipality of The Hague is offering children in their first year of secondary school, who come from low-income families, a smartphone.
Missing out on the digital society
1.000 pupils, from low-income families, starting their first year of secondary school in The Hague will receive a Samsung phone on a T-Mobile contract. This will allow the pupils to access the internet, amongst other things. The contract will last four years; however, the arrangement will lapse if the child in question starts earning money.
Those who began the initiative believe that young people, whose parents cannot afford to buy them a smartphone, are missing out on the digital society, especially as many schools now communicate homework and timetables via smartphones. A smartphone should also address the social isolation of these pupils, as many of their peers keep in touch with each other via texting etc.
Pupils receiving a smartphone will also be informed about the risks that come with, for example, sexting or using your mobile whilst driving or cycling in the Netherlands.
To prevent expensive phone bills, calling numbers from abroad and expensive text services have been blocked, and pupils are limited to 1GB of data before the internet speed is slowed. The smartphones have also been registered to deter criminals.
Ingrid Michon of the VVD political party feels it is ridiculous that children from low-income families are receiving a smartphone, whilst others have to save up themselves. The party is also questioning how great the “social isolation” to be addressed actually is.