Utilizing The Tech Savviness in Youth for Household Financial Advancement
Posted by Fahz on 2013/12/23
As one of the poorest states in the nation, New Mexico (NM) needs an economic boost from any possible sources. The youth population is certainly a promising target to focus on in order to alleviate poverty and improve economic conditions in NM. Although some may think that the efforts are surely to be long-term oriented with youths, they may still make immediate impact in the short term.
An area in which the youth are excelling is technology. Youth are relatively more tech savvy and spend more time on high-tech gadgets than the older generations. These technology-related areas include the internet, cell phones, social networking websites, and computer devices.
A win-win situation can be had if these youth would channel these computer skills to help their parents with household management, especially the financial-related ones. The youth and their parents can complement one another; the former being tech savvy and the latter being more knowledgeable about financial issues. With some training and assistance, the internet may be used as a tool to increase the household income, by, for example, developing a website on family business online (e.g. agricultural tourism, cultural products, agricultural products), advertising sales through craigslist, and getting involved in online jobs. Although youth may not be familiar with some financial practices and jargons, their familiarity with the computers may complement their parents’ knowledge. Youth may be able to chat with an expert, call an expert, Google the right phrases, and sense the reliability of a website based on its appearance (URL address and design).
US Census Bureau (Davis, Day, & Janus, 2005) reported that, based on Current Population Survey 2003, 80% of Americans 15- to 17-year-olds use the internet while 94.9% of this age group use computer. The respective proportions for those 18 years old and older are 59.5% and 63.7%. If the youth internet use in each state follows that of all ages, one may expect the internet use among NM youth to be lower than that of the national average. The overall percentage of internet use in 2003 for NM was 44.8%, compared to 54.7% nationally. The relatively low internet use among the youth in NM is likely related to the fact that NM is not among the 34 states with education technology standards by school grade level. A potential spot for the NM youths is that the student to internet-connected computer in public schools is 3.1, compared to the national average of 3.7 (Education Research Center, 2007). Even in high-poverty schools in NM, this ratio stands at 3.1, compared to the national average of 3.8 (Education Research Center). These numbers indicate that NM has the capital, but requires educational programs to promote healthy computer and internet use among the youth.
 High-poverty schools refer to schools in which more than half the students are eligible for the federal free or reduced-price lunch program.
Internet World Stats: http://www.internetworldstats.com/unitedstates.htm#NM
Broadband Subscription and Internet Use in New Mexico, Bureau of Business & Economic Research University of New Mexico, June 2013 http://bber.unm.edu/pubs/BBER-Broadband.pdf