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Common Sense Media and Univision Partner on National Campaign to Increase Latino Access to Broadband and Education Around Internet Use

We are excited to work with Univision to achieve our goal of getting broadband technology to more Latino students.

Topics: Digital Divide

Bridging the digital divide -- the gulf between those who have access to computers and the Internet and those who don't -- is an important part of the complex process of helping expand economic and educational opportunity to all Americans. This is particularly true among Latinos, who are more likely to be living in poverty than other Americans.

As the chasm between the haves and have-nots continues to grow in our country, it's increasingly important that we do everything we can to help close the opportunity gap -- especially when it comes to our kids.

Common Sense Media is proud to partner with Univision to help ensure that Latino families have access to high-speed Internet. Our new joint initiative, ¡Avanzamos Conectados! (Connected, We Advance!), is an unprecedented, multi-year national media effort designed to inform and connect Hispanic students to broadband technology.

The initiative builds on Univision's award-winning community empowerment education. By pairing the network's unmatched reach across media platforms and its trusted position as a resource and advocate for the Hispanic community with Common Sense Media's content expertise and corporate relationships, we'll be working together to help improve the lives of Latino families around the country.

Today, access to the Internet is as essential as access to the telephone was to previous generations. Ensuring broadband access for all is an important step forward in helping low-income families move up the economic ladder.

The evidence of the benefits of high-speed Internet access is overwhelming. Studies show that Gross Domestic Product and household incomes rise with greater Internet penetration, adults use the Internet to upgrade their job skills and apply for jobs, kids use the Internet to complete their homework, and teens and adults both use the Internet to access health information that can save money and improve health outcomes. But for millions of families without high-speed Internet at home, these benefits aren't available.

Lack of high-speed Internet access makes it harder for parents and their children to compete, and it decreases their long-term economic opportunity.

Increasingly, Hispanics are the ones on the wrong side of the digital divide. While access to high-speed broadband at home has steadily increased for all Americans in recent years, Hispanics continue to be less connected when compared to other racial and ethnic groups. According to a 2014 Pew Research Center study, 74% of whites and 62% of African Americans are connected, while just half of Hispanics (56%) have high-speed Internet access at home.

Not surprisingly, the Pew Research analysis of U.S. Census data finds that broadband access at home is highly correlated to income; the lowest-income households have the lowest home broadband subscription rates. Roughly one-third (31.4%) of households whose incomes fall below $50,000 and with children ages 6 to 17 don't have a high-speed internet connection at home.

Yet even among the lowest-income households, Hispanic households with children trail compared to white households with children by about 10 percent.

We can and must do better.

¡Avanzamos Conectados! will work to inform parents about the importance of broadband, increase awareness within the community about programs that provide broadband at discounted rates, and provide parents with information about how their kids can access broadband safely and securely.

This multi-platform initiative will run across the Univision TV and radio markets and through grassroots and community outreach and promotional efforts in the 10 top Latino markets.

Reliable access to a computer/ broadband at home is essential for every child's development and educational advancement. Working together, we can give parents the tools to turn their homes into hubs of learning and innovation by providing reliable access to a computer at home and by helping their children access the Web safely and securely.

Jim Steyer

Jim is Common Sense Media's CEO and founder -- read all about him here.