Links to Web Locations


Week 13: Miscellaneous Digital Divide Issues

Rural Divide: Is you is, or is you ain't, broadband-enabled? If not, it can take a long time to surf.

Rural Divide: Because of the recognition that there reallyis a substantial digital divide when the user (or potential user) is in a rural area, there are also a number of online resources available to help rural users become connected:

Rural Divide: A number of states are working to shore up the digital divides in their communities, including

Rural Divide: US broadband adoption is being driven by the FCC and other governmental agencies. Here is the general plan.
Rural Divide: The global rural divide is even worse than that in the U.S., and the United Nations has put together "Bridging the Rural Digital Divide" to help address this issue.
Rural Divide: How are individual states looking in terms of the rural digital divide? Here is a discussion about Minnesota's issues.
Rural Divide: This blogger discusses her own run-in with the rural digital divide...and makes the rather pointed observation that $100 laptops are not useful without $100 broadband.

Disabilities: The International Center for Disability Resources on the Internet is a thorough guide for users with some form of physical disability. Some of the types of resources available include:

Disabilities: This year, Congress passed legislation to address inequities in internet access for those Americans with disabilities. Here is the president's speech on signing this legislation.
Disabilities: One of the best resources online for disability concerns is

Disabilities: The Web standards group W3C provides the most recent set of standards for web developers who wish to make accessible sites.

Disabilities: How can some of the web be sorted out for those with disabilities?

Bridging the Digital Divide: That is the stated purpose of the eponymous organization, looking at connecting the world - including the poor.
Bridging the Digital Divide: This site focusing on Asian divide issues (although global in conept) looks at how NGOs (non-government organizations) can help to bridge the digital divide.
Bridging the Digital Divide: Economic factors cannot be ignored in the race for digital equality.  The development of the $100 laptops for children below the povertly line puts the resources into the hands of those who need them.

Broadband Penetration (FCC report)


Week 11: When things go viral


Week 10: Children and the Internet: some day, they will rule the world

With the passage of the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act by the U.S. government, parents and children have new issues for privacy of under-13 minors. The EPIC (Electronic Privacy Information Center) page on COPPA is a very useful site for understanding ongoing concerns.

What is a bit troubling is that some of the best sites for kids and privacy online, like GetNetWise, haven't been updated very frequently in the last couple of years. Then again, their information is still sound, and the main GetNetWise site is updated very often.

Here are some interesting sites for kids -- online communities, portals, vortals, etc., that are both educational and fun.  (They never had this stuff when we were kids.  *sigh*)
  • I ate BombPops when I was a kid, but never thought of them as an icon.
  • Teaching children to cook may be as simple as sending them to The Kids Cooking Club.
  • And, to connect one week to the next, here is the site for Christian Kids.
  • TorahTots offers Jewish children fun, education about their faith, free email, etc.
  • There's of course a site for Muslim children, too. See  Minimuslims site (for videos) 
  • ConnectKids is the state of Connecticut's site for children, including spotlights on web pages written by kids.
  • CyberSleuth is an internet search engine designed just for kids. Let's chat a bit about the advertising.
  • And here's Kidtastic:  games, education, contests, and advertising, of course.
  • is a game portal for kids.  It adheres pretty strictly to the COPPA. (In fact, some of the ads that get served - like wrinkle cream - are just weird. Alfy also has active discussion boards.
  • Some sites, like Cyberkids, found their community sites too hard to maintain in the face of changing governmental regulations. So they shut them down entirely.
  • Surfing the Net with Kids is a really solid site for parents and kids to share.
  • I'll confess that I like It bills itself as "fun stuff to do when you're bored." (One hopes that kids are now outside not being bored, since it's not Winter.)
  • has a lot to offer (even if appropriate spelling isn't one of those things), including links to other cool sites.
  • Web sites like Cool Freebie Links (at least on their kids' pages) skirt the edge between what is and is not allowable under COPPA. Certainly they are obvious marketing attempts.

Children have their own online communities (and the growth of global online communities for kids shows promise for intercultural tolerance).   KidLink is designed to connect kids to kids in many different languages.

The U.S. government's "Globe" program builds global perspectives while focusing on the sciences.  I really wish they had these when I was a kid!
And ThinkQuest is a collaborative web site allowing students and teachers to work together.
Many U.S. government sites exist just for kids (although adults can appreciate them, too). In addition to FirstGov (the inter-agency portal for kids), there are:

Keeping kids safe online is the primary focus of ChildNet International.

And now for the over-commercialized kids' social networks:

Via Mashable, 5 safe, fun communities for kids:

The American Library Association offers a great clearinghouse of web sites for kids.

And has an amazing list of links, including to such things as the National Geographic dinosaur page - a major kid hit.


Week 9: Race and Ethnicity Online

The American Political Science Association offers a special section on Race and Ethnicity Online.
In the modern era, Civil Rights concerns are still an issue. One site promotes a new civil rights movement for all people of color.
A U.K. site, the Social Science Gateway, provides many international links about Black and Racial Minority issues worldwide.
The oldest of the U.S.-based organizations striving for racial and ethnic equality is the NAACP, which has a full-function, extensive site.  Other sites include those focused on:
  • African American life, culture, and problems, like:
  • Native American issues (Native Web)
    • CodeTalk is a federal inter-agency site for Native American concerns and information
    • In Canada, a web site is devoted to the land in Nunavut, the new Territory created to encompass many of the Native American lands.
    • And this site at is part of the WWW Virtual Library, and it is really incredibly comprehensive about Native American issues, concerns, social and cultural links
    • One area of great concern for indigenous peoples is with maintaining native languages so that they do not disappear completely. This site offers links for kids - a very comprehensive list of great use to adults, too.
    • The federal government provides specific health programs, services and information on the Indian Health Service web pages.
  • Hispanic American concerns (Hispanic News)
Asian American online resources and communities.  Here are some of the different kinds of links to various Asian American sites and community connections.  This is a very, very small percentage of the available sites - Asian Americans are more likely to be online than any other ethnic group in the U.S.
Following September 11, 2001, many Americans viewed ethnic Arabs in the U.S. with grave concern.   Articles like this one on were designed to educate the public (especially children), reasoning that fear was greatest when accompanied by ignorance. Many sites related to Arab-Americans and Islam were hit regularly by people looking for answers, and still are now, nine years later.  Here are some of them:
The American Institute for Managing Diversity is a non-profit diversity "think tank" offering assistance to businesses and educational organizations.
Working for diversity and racial/ethnic tolerance:
Other ethnic sites and groups in the U.S.:

A mixed bag of dating and social networking sites for various ethic/racial communities:



Week 8: Religious Communities Online

Online religious web sites may include information about converting to particular faiths.  See:
Many sites are designed to be educational, teaching those who encounter the sites about:
  • Islam
  • Judaism
  • Christianity (but most of online Christian education is very much a sect-by-sect thing: the link offered here is to a UK site which is Church of England) including Roman Catholic
  • is a wonderful resource about many major religions, their tenants, and how to find them online.
Some faiths include online discussion groups and classes, like:

Blogs also very commonly used for binding religious communities together. See, for instance, the following:

  • Catholic Blogs is a search engine just for that specialized blogosphere.
  • Buddhist Blog is not, as its author notes, a definitive blog...just a blog by someone who cares about Buddhism.
  • There are, of course, atheist blogs.
  • A more unusual approach to faith by TruthBook (the Urantia book)
  • Jihad Watch is a blog written by a religious educator who says he has no axe to grind: you judge.

Okay, so we need some of this here, too: Cult information. (And yes, the Urantia book folks have been called a "cult.")

  • The Rick A. Ross Institute studies destructive cults and has enormous educational resources
  • The bizarre suicide UFO cult called Heaven's Gate still has a live web site, and there are extensive evaluations of what happened, including
  • This very good site offers a general exploration of the nature of cults, both benign and destructive.
  • Some people put the Church of Scientology into the cult category because of its actions. Among the anti-Scientology sites is Operation Clambake, which is the "fight against the church of Scientology on the net."
Here are a bunch of really excellent links for scholars or students.

And the Internet is a great place to meet singles of one's faith. See:


Week 7: Sexual Preference/Practice Online

  • Gay teenagers are four times as likely to suicide than their heterosexual counterparts. In the wake of recent suicides by gay college students (in particular, Rutgers freshman Tyler Clementi's horrific situation), CBS aired a story about a project called "It Gets Better." This deeply heart-felt outreach program is designed to help LGBT youth learn to cope with their own sexuality in the brutal social worlds of high school and college...and to know that, well, it gets better.
  • Similarly, the Trevor Project is a 24-hour confidential hotline for LGBT youth who may be contemplating suicide - giving them someone to connect with immediately.
  • Oasis Journal also acts as a sort of "round-up" location for these efforts.
"Gay Today" is a daily online news-zine which focuses on issues of the "queer" (particularly gay male) community.
Domestic violence is a concern for partnerships in the GLBT Communities, just as it is in heterosexual communities.  One site focuses on debunking the myth that women don't abuse women.
RainbowSauce is another of the many fallow sites online. Find a date that tells you *how* out of date this site is.
The Transgender Guide offers information, links, and advice for the transgendered community, including social opportunities and suggestions.
For men and women who are looking for a comfortable place to live, Birds of a Feather (a GLBT planned community in New Mexico) looks nearly heaven-sent.

Yes, of course there are dating sites. Some examples:

So, the dating thing went really well, and same-sex partners want to make it permanent? Purple Unions provides global information about wedding ceremonies in those nations and states where same-sex marriage is legal. Here's their Massachusetts Wedding Planner page. Also included are vendors for commitment ceremonies in those states where same-sex marriage is considered a threat to the national security not legal.

For many GLBT community members, going on vacation may mean specialized travel planning (to find places that are safe, inviting, and open to gay lifestyles).

  • GayTravel offers a more substantial site, including information and news about gay-friendly travel.
  • Atlantis Events specializes in cruises and resort vacations aimed primarily at gay men.
  • Many of the major travel companies, like Liberty Travel, offer special sections of "gay-friendly" vacations.
  • Some companies, like Hans Ebensten Travel, specialize in tours for the gay community of "uncommon destinations."
Often, legal issues are of grave concern for members of the GLBT community. Here's the Transgender Law and Policy Institute page, as an example.

What is particularly interesting about online GLBT communities is that they are very geographical in nature:  many cities have web sites which plug locals into the area scene.  

Some GLBT sites are focused not just on geography, but also on shared interests outside of sexual identification. Dignity Boston, for instance, is designed for members of te GLBT community who are also Roman Catholics.
GLBT Support & News Web Sites Online
Anti-Gay Web Sites Online
Sexual Practices/Sex Education Web Sites
  • Groups like the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Free Expression Policy Project often find themselves defending cyber-porn on First Amendment grounds.  But much which is called cyber-porn, they argue, is also informative.
  • More and more sex education happens online.  The Daze Reader provides factual, useful information, for instance.  One online site claims that more sex education happens online than in the classroom in 2002.
  • One Canadian site offers extensive information on sexuality, birth control, and safe sex issues.
  • And "Ask NOAH" lets people learn the facts about STDs in private.
  • Groups like Planned Parenthood can provide information about birth control in an anonymous, online venue.
  • Having concerns, but talking about them is problematic? Web sites like WebMD are there to provide medical and therapeutic information in a non-threatening environment. (And, of course, there are about a bazillion health sites dealing with sexual issues.)



Week 1: Background and History of the 'Net

Social History before the 'Net

Top-Level Domains

Week 2: Political Connections online

Links to various political sites

Week 3: Minority Report

Links to sites discussed in class, 23 September 2010



Week 4: American digital divide

Global internet use by language (and growth rates in 2007).

Global internet users as a percentage of the population.
The 2010 Social Networking map is a thing of beauty.
Internet haves and have-nots: the American digital divide.


Week 5: Online communities & the social network

Web-based social media: the Google Infographic.

Video: Vin Cerf on the Web and Social Media.
Video: Clay Shirky and the Potential of Social Media. (And, related, BronzeBeta.)
Dating sites:,,
Forums/groups: Yahoo Groups, Google Groups
The first: Six Degrees (archived site) and Six Degrees (now)
Blog or community? Both! LiveJournal and a sample LiveJournal
Gaming community: World of Warcraft
FriendFeed (Aggregator)
Prophilactic (Aggregator)





























Week 6: Gender Communities Online

Women's sites
One of the most mainstream of women's groups is the National Organization for Women (U.S.) , which has a very informative web site.
A very nice women's community site is the popular Women's Web (from Canada). This site goes beyond many and looks at everything from clothing to health to politics to LGBT topics.
A portal, or internet gateway, for feminist/women's issues of great value is the Feminist Majority Foundation
One area of concern for feminist organizations has been with the images of women in advertising and the media. AboutFace exists to combat some of those stereotyped images.
Specializing in news about women in Latin America is this web site (ALAI Mujeres) in Spanish.
Gender advocacy sites online includes this UK site: Bridge, focusing on gender advocacy and mainstreaming.
Canadian Women's Health Network: This site, available in both English and French, offers very extensive resources on women's health. A large assortment of relevant topics include not just the usual ones such as "fitness and nutrition," "menopause and healthy aging," and "pregnancy and motherhood," but also such categories as "gender-based analysis," "health policy," "women in the workplace," and attention to the health issues of aboriginal women, lesbians and bisexual women, and women with disabilities.
IDEA: Gender and Political Participation site looks at women's connectedness in the political process.
And this site offers tools for women in a variety of areas: political, legal, mental health, anti-violence, and activism.
Men's sites
(This one is humorous: the Dull Men's Club, for those who don't want to be hip and trendy.)
Men's Journal has a solid online presence, including stories from the magazine.
While there was a flurry of web sites aimed also at men's issues in the mid 2000s, quite a few, like this one, have lain fallow for several years. And, which focused on mental heatlth concerns (but seems to have died from lack of sponsorship). Many of these sites, as is often the case with communities of interest, had enthusiastic members who did all of the work...until they didn't. Further, the recent economic problems have led to a lot of cutting back on web sites (and the related organizations) aimed at supporting those in need.
MenStuff bills itself as a national resource about many issues affecting men: fatherhood, men at risk, substance abuse, sex, and so on. (It really needs a face lift, however.)
The Men's Health Network offers regularly updated information about wellness issues for men. Many of the online men's community sites are aimed at health concerns specific to the male of the species (but then, so are many women's community sites!).
And then there is Men Who Knit - not exactly funny, but an interesting site for those men tired of knitting being seen as a purely feminine practice. As I was putting together these links, I was struck by the change on this site. Three years ago, when a student first sent me the link, the site did not have the strong gay presence it has now.

Transgender sites

Gender issues also include questions of gender identification. For those questioning their gender, viewing their gender in different ways, or for whom life has thrown a gender-sized curve ball, this listing of eCommunities and sites (from Laura's Playground) can be invaluable. The general term "transgender" often includes Transgendered, Transsexual and Crossdressing and Transvestite individuals.
The Gender Society provides social networking, information, and community for transgender people.
And a similar site (although fairly textish in appearance) is eTransgender.
Web sites to evaluate



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This page created and maintained by
Dr. Deb Geisler
Department of Communication and Journalism
Suffolk University
Boston, MA  02108
Last updated 2 December 2010