–(HISPANIC PR WIRE – CONTEXTO LATINO)–How can you help your children have a successful start and improve their future opportunities? How can families find better product and service values? How can you stay in touch with relatives overseas? Every day, more Hispanic families turn to the Internet as a solution for these and other important questions.
Most Hispanic families spend little time connected to the Internet, but have quickly come to understand that it’s a tool that can help them improve their lives, as well as their children’s.
A study conducted by AOL/RoperASW this Spring found that three-quarters of Hispanics think that having access to the Internet helps their children with their homework and improves their chances of getting a better job in the future.
This makes a lot of sense: Even at a young age, children get homework that requires Internet research. In addition, the sophistication of its many features and the access it provides to a wide variety of content have turned the Internet into a very powerful, useful and accessible resource for home learning. It’s important to keep in mind that children who learn to use the Internet are getting the training in technical skills that they will need to use in any career they may choose.
Hispanic families have also discovered the Internet’s great communication potential, which allows them to exchange e-mails, instant messages, photos, videos and music with relatives and friends in the United States, Latin America and the rest of the world. In fact, Hispanic families have adopted this communication medium at a greater speed than the general population, according to the AOL/Roper ASW study.
This study also shows that 65 percent of the 13 million Hispanics who use the Internet say that it represents their main content source for information about products and services they want to purchase.
Despite these advantages, only a third of Hispanics have access to the Internet from home or work, compared to 60 percent of the general population. This gap, commonly known as the “digital gap” limits progress among Hispanics in this country, particularly among young people.
The AOL/Roper ASW study shows that one of the reasons mentioned by Hispanics for the gap is the cost of computers and software. However, prices have dropped significantly. Nowadays, you can buy a computer system with a printer for less than $650, and a connection to the Internet costs much less than what is often paid for cable TV. In addition, many stores offer convenient financing plans.
David Wellisch, VP and General Manager of AOL Latino, told Contexto Latino that other commonly mentioned hurdles are language issues and the need to have a credit card to pay for Internet access. Wellisch added: “In October of last year, AOL Latino was launched, keeping in mind the Hispanic consumer’s concerns.
That’s why all of the service’s features are in Spanish, including Ayuda Escolar (School Life) and Preguntale al Maestro (Ask the Teacher), which can be very useful for children, in addition to a variety of content of interest to the Hispanic community.” In terms of payment methods, Wellisch said “you don’t need to have a credit card, since there are other payment methods for service, including through your phone bill.”
There are also many sites with Spanish content. The federal government, as well as several state governments, for instance, offer lots of important information in Spanish. Top businesses also have information in Spanish to do everything from buying a book to even buying a car by Internet, or to comfortably shop at your favorite business or department store from your home.
The fact is that there no longer many hurdles for Internet usage by Hispanics. They can start enjoying the conveniences and advantages of technology at home. This is the future, but what’s most important, it represents our children’s key to success.