Digitial Divide: Kids In Small Towns Flock to McDonald’s for Homework

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For some kids, homework can come with a side of french fries. McDonald’s 12,000 Wi-Fi equipped restaurants in the U.S. make the chain one of the biggest wireless hotspots in the country.

For children of the small town of Citronelle, Alabama, McDonald’s has become their go-to place to do homework. The Citronelle McDonald’s is one of the only places where kids in town can get access to the Internet for free.

“We do have some students who use those access points to complete homework assignments, to do research,” says Citronelle High School Principal Richard Dickson.

This is a trend that can be spotted around the country as schools increasingly rely on online teaching tools, but high-speed Internet access is far from universal.

“When I went to he library, it was actually closed, so I had to go to McDonald’s to start the paper,” said high school student Lacy Victoria.

According to a 2011 Pew Research Center study, found that 96 percent of families with at least $75,000 or greater of income had high-speed Internet access at home. But only 66 percent of families with $30,000 or less of income had high-speed Internet access at home.