Internet Literacy and Access
Jan 21, 2015
As a citizen of the United States, I find that access to the internet is very common. Yet, effective use of the Internet is not something I saw growing up in my neighborhood in the Bronx. For the most part, it is used as a tool of communication. While this is nothing to scoff at, I wish that there were more trainings in safe and productive ways to use social media. In high school, I gained access to the Internet and used it to chat on instant messenger with my friends. I spent the most time writing in my online journal. This was a way to connect with my friends and online friends, which is why journaling online is so natural for me.
I feel though that the stories of women in my community are not highlighted or told enough. I would like for young women in my community to have more access to training in how to tell stories, report on breaking news and build networks online. Additionally, there are not enough resources in terms of access outside of cell phones. I would like to see more computer labs where not only can youth come to use the Internet at their leisure but have the media center run by a social justice-minded staff. I did not grow up always having access to a computer. Having access to it at school, the library and YMPJ was how I began to get familiar with the Internet. Growing up in the South Bronx, I was a part of Youth Ministries for Peace and Justice (YMPJ). It was here that my political education began and my interest in using the Internet as a means of disseminating information was nurtured. With the ability to use computers during my time there, I was taught how to lay out a newspaper. I got the opportunity to be the youth editor-in-chief, which expanded my Internet literacy by learning to use it to fact-check and obtain images to go with articles.
Providing similar training so that young woman can expand their use of the Internet is vital to learning how to use the Internet in a more productive way. One issue that never goes away is Internet safety. Without the proper guidance, young women can fall prey to online predators. That was always a big fear of mine when I started using the internet. I have learned how to be safe online and avoid situations that could be dangerous. As a citizen journalist, I try to be as safe as possible given the radical nature of my work. As a result of going on to getting my degree in Television and Radio Productions, I have been able to at the very least show women how the media and Internet they consume affects their view on themselves. I hope to help more women use the internet more effectively when I am done with my midwifery education.
I would like to contribute to creating more space for being able to train young women, specifically around reproductive health. I want to help them find reliable resources online as they blossom into women, creating a database for them that is full of knowledge. Additionally, I would like there to be a network and forum such as World Pulse available for young woman around the world to find mentorship as they grow up into mature women. This is what I feel is lacking most, solid guidance. With the power and extensiveness of the Internet, I want to help channel more positive and productive communication for women.