Survey shows young people embracing tech for good

New research from BT ahead of the Tech4Good Young Pioneer Award indicates that tech-savvy young people need more encouragement to realise the social good that can be done through digital.

Chloe Green | 26th Apr 19

Two in five children (41%) believe that technology should be used to make a difference in people’s lives, according to new research from BT.

Children as young as nine years old are thinking about the positive uses of technology, including recognising the power technology gives them to learn new skills (61%) and help other people (37%). Half (49%) of children state they are actively seeking a job in developing future technologies.

The research comes as part of BT’s search for the UK’s next young tech pioneer in the AbilityNet Tech4Good Awards as it champions young people to find creative ways to use technology for social good.

While many children have a linear view of technology, thinking about its main use for playing games (36%) searching the internet (30%) or doing school and college work (30%), others see things differently, with one in five children thinking about technology for entrepreneurship (21%). Others see technology as a means to saving people’s lives (17%), to make the world better (16%) or to save the environment (12%).

Kate Russell, tech expert and Tech4Good Awards judge said this needs to be encouraged: “There’s a misconception around young people’s use and enthusiasm for modern technology. Kids are thinking beyond its limitations and actively using technology to solve problems in their own world or in society.”


Seeking young tech talent

The Young Pioneer Award is open to all young people between the age of nine and 18 years old with the award winners receiving £5,000 of tech to help scale their project, as well as focused session with BT experts, to help develop their ideas and inventions.

Andy Wales, Chief Digital Impact and Sustainability Officer, BT, said: “BT is keen to find and support disruptive new technologies that improve people’s everyday lives. A new world is being shaped and created by the rapid acceleration of technologies, and we need a culture in the UK that celebrates tech for good entrepreneurs, who are at the forefront of making sure no one is left behind. And it’s even more exciting when these new ideas come from young people.”

Previous winners include Water Watcher – a simple an inexpensive solution to the problem of waster wastage developed by a team of four young friends from ages 9-16, based on the BBC Micro:bit. The solution is now going into commercial production.

In 2017 the award went to two year ten girls from a Killian’s College in Northern Ireland. Their device, Dyslexic Aid, helps children who are struggling to learn because of dyslexia.

Entries for the Tech4Good awards close on the 10th May – go to the website to submit your nomination.

AbilityNet are also running a free webinar: ‘How to win a Tech4Good award‘ taking place on Monday, which aims to help potential nominees put together their case for an award and explain their ideas in the best way possible.

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