One Unprotected? Laptop Per Child

As if we didn’t cover them enough in class, the One Laptop Per Child program has some major flaws. However, one glaring flaw of the program is its complete non-mention of safety guards for children on the internet. This article specifically sites that one of the OLPC leaders admitted that safety had been overlooked. Let that sink in. When creating a program to help children in developing countries what was overlooked?  Durability? No. Language Barriers? Of course not. Safety?…Oops.


Kids enrolled in the OLPC program and given the only semi user-friendly laptop are given the internet access with not only no previous exposure to the internet/internet culture, but no background in internet safety. In schools all across the U.S.A. children are taught in middle school about the dangers of chatrooms, giving out your personal information and meeting strangers online. When children in the OLPC program encounter these threats without previous knowledge of not only how to deal with them but the fact that a 40 year old man saying he wants to be “special friends” is in fact a threat!! This is not to say that “stranger danger” is a uniquely western concept, but the idea of internet safety should not be. Introducing internet services without safety training is introducing a new realm of threats for the children using these laptops and leaving them woefully unprepared.


Unfortunately, the OLPC leader did not say anything with regards to fixing the blatant incorporation of child safety in the program.


2 responses to “One Unprotected? Laptop Per Child

  • Ed Resor

    Have you heard of any reported problems concerning child safety? Most of these kids are pretty tough and have bigger safety concerns.
    Also many OLPC laptops have no or limited connection to the Internet.

    My limited knowledge indicates the real problems are:
    1.)The adults in charge are overprotective of the OLPC laptops and the average usage of each laptop is very low around 0.5 to 3 hours per day. See the EWB work in Ghana which probably had one of the higher usage rates.
    2.) There are very few servers to provided content without access to the Internet. See the reason RACHEL was started at World Possible.
    3.) There is very little content to help the kids do well on the exams that they need to take to get into a good middle school or high school. These exams are part of a tough real world that these kids face.

    Stay involved and get more involved. We need more concerned students like you to help solve these problems.

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