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Internet Literacy and Access

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.

This story was written for World Pulse’s Women Weave the Web Digital Action Campaign. Learn more »


Anita Muhanguzi's picture

Keep up the good work

Dear Latinegra, I really enjoy reading your articles they are very educative. I also agree with you that there is safety with the internet and so people need to be more aware about the dangers of using the internet. You are likely you are in a first world country where the internet is free and so more awareness should be created for women and girls to have their voices heard. Coming from a country like mine where only a few can afford internet it is very difficult for people at the grass root to have their voices heard. So i encourage you to use all the resources at your disposal to make a big difference. Continue with the great articles. Have a blessed day.

Mrs. Anita Kiddu Muhanguzi
Head of Legal and Advocacy
Centre for Batwa Minorities
Skype: mrs_muhanguzi

Dear Latinegra,

In this post, as in your earlier ones, you raise important issues. This time you share the need to provide wise oversight, guidance and training to young women so they learn how to use the power of the internet to educate themselves and to communicate with others, while at the same time, learn to be savvy enough to protect themselves. I hope you will be able to do this work, as well as continue your work in reproductive health.

Blessings to you. I so enjoy reading your posts!

Bheki's picture

The internet is a powerful tool

Dear LatiNegra,

Thank you so much for your thoughtful posting. We are very fortunate to have access to the internet in they ways that we do in the U.S. I was in rural South Africa for 5 years, and so many there have no way to get information that is reliable, and thus their view of the world is quite limited. The lack of access is even more prevalent among women. EVERYONE has a cell phone but data bundles are very expensive. People in rural areas really want to move into this century but their access to technology is scant.

I agree with you that young women really need mentors who can help them see options, recognize their gifts, and grow into healthy womanhood. Thank you for your efforts to bring the power of the internet to women and to connect with young women across the globe. We are one heart!

Blessings to you as you continue your education and your advocacy for women.

Thank you for sharing, glad to hear what you hope for women to help them, it's good sister. Excellent work, I wish you much success



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