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
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 Accessible.org.
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
| 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
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.
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
- 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.
- Alfy.com is a game portal for kids. It adheres pretty strictly to the
(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 Bored.com. 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.)
- 4Kids.org 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.
program builds global perspectives while focusing on the
sciences. I really wish they had these when I was a
|And ThinkQuest is a collaborative web site allowing students and teachers to work together.
government sites exist just for kids (although adults can appreciate
them, too). In addition to FirstGov (the inter-agency portal
for kids), there are:
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 KidSites.com 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
Political Science Association offers a special section on Race and
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.
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,
- Native American issues (Native
- CodeTalk is a federal inter-agency site
for Native American concerns and information
Canada, a web site is devoted to the land in Nunavut, the new Territory created to encompass many of the Native
- And this site at hanksville.org is part of
the WWW Virtual Library, and it is really incredibly
comprehensive about Native American issues, concerns, social and
- 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.
- Arts sites:
- History and Advocacy sites
- Asian-Nation: an
impressive portal site put together and maintained by C.N. Le, a sociologist
- Asian Law Caucus offers services especially for low-income people
- Culture and Community
September 11, 2001, many Americans viewed ethnic Arabs in the U.S.
with grave concern. Articles like this one on Tolerance.org 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
diversity and racial/ethnic tolerance:
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
religious web sites may include information about converting to
particular faiths. See:
are designed to be educational, teaching those who encounter the
- 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
- Belief.net is a wonderful
resource about many major religions, their tenants, and how to
find them online.
include online discussion groups and classes, like:
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
- Jihad Watch is a blog
written by a religious educator who says he has no axe to grind:
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
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.
violence is a concern for partnerships in the GLBT Communities,
just as it is in heterosexual communities. One site focuses
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.
Transgender Guide offers information, links, and advice for
the transgendered community, including social opportunities and
|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.
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."
legal issues are of grave concern for members of the GLBT community.
Here's the Transgender
Law and Policy Institute page, as an example.
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.
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.
Support & News Web Sites Online
- GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Aliance Against Defamation)
- The Advocate (Gay & Lesbian news magazine)
- Out Magazine (Gay & Lesbian general-interest magazine)
Web Sites Online
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
Week 2: Political Connections online
Week 3: Minority Report
Week 4: American digital divide
Week 5: Online communities & the social network
Week 6: Gender Communities Online
the most mainstream of women's groups is the National Organization for Women (U.S.) , which has a very informative
|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.
or internet gateway, for feminist/women's issues of great value
is the Feminist Majority Foundation
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.
in news about women in Latin America is this
web site (ALAI Mujeres) in Spanish.
advocacy sites online includes this UK site: Bridge, focusing on gender advocacy and mainstreaming.
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.
site offers tools for women in a variety of areas: political,
legal, mental health, anti-violence, and activism.
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 MaleDepression.com, 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.)
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.
|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
This page created and maintained by
Department of Communication and
Last updated 2 December 2010