Smartphones Allow Education and Work During the Pandemic

August 11, 2021

Although much of the talk about smartphones these days is about helping people limit use or avoid some of the pitfalls of overuse, these discussions are based on the assumption that the advantages of having a smartphone are already taken for granted. In some countries, the lack of smartphones has become an important issue, especially in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In the U.S. and other countries with a lot of resources, the availability of technology both within families and also within schools specifically has been one of the cornerstones to keeping both the economy and the educational system afloat during quarantines brought about by the pandemic. Students and workers alike were often able to continue their studies or their jobs from home with the help of internet connections, laptops, tablets and smartphones. However, in many countries these resources are not as readily available or affordable, causing the income gap to make a widening rift in education, preventing many people who could have otherwise worked from home to not have the option.

In Mexico, the Covid-19 pandemic has caused the government to take note of the difference a smartphone could make in households that wouldn’t otherwise have one. Unlike laptops or tablets, smartphones have internet access already built in, and for a much more affordable price than an internet connection. By increasing the number of smartphones the general population has—in addition to building out service availability in more rural areas—Mexico will be able to do a better job of reaching its millions of students, keeping them engaged with their teachers and classrooms from afar. Access to smartphones can help users have greater access to important news regarding the pandemic and other topics, in addition to giving access to educational resources and distance learning. 

Following a new academic report released by The Competitive Intelligence Unit (CIU) and the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM), a major campaign has been implemented to not only get smartphones into the hands of more Mexicans, but also to make sure more of those smartphones are high end, giving users the power to access more of the resources available for smartphones that have the operating systems and the memory to run them. The study called for subsidies to help lower-income families invest in a smartphone. It also suggested eliminating sales taxes on smartphones and creating financing options to help families with their purchase.

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