There are currently 3.24 million Australians living in poverty, including 774,000 children. That equates to one in every six Australian children. These kids, by definition, lack the bare necessities. This means they skip meals, miss out on school excursions and don’t have access to the same educational opportunities as other children. Yet, poverty is not the only cause of disadvantage among children. Other recognised causes are suffering a disability, coming from an indigenous background, or having to care for a family member.
Unfortunately, disadvantage tends to be passed on from one generation to the next. A major contributing factor here is education. While we are all born with the capacity to learn and achieve, coming from a disadvantaged background can radically affect a child’s future prospects. Research shows that by the time children turn fifteen, those from disadvantaged backgrounds are, on average, three years behind their peers. This problem is now being exacerbated by the increasing use of technology in the classroom. Put simply, children from disadvantaged backgrounds don’t have access to the same IT equipment, sometimes even lacking a reliable internet connection at home. This is causing a ‘digital divide’ between haves and have nots, which makes it increasingly difficult for disadvantaged children to do well at school.