I decided to write this post after I saw the post written by the women of Black Web 2.0 called “7 Ways to Change a Young Girl’s Life with Tech.” I thought the same discussion needed to happen concerning black boys. Mostly because I look at how much technology has changed my life.
I’ve used technology to expand my knowledge, direct my career, and create businesses and opportunities for others. As the Internet continues to grow, I see even a greater opportunity for young boys to do things I could not even begin to imagine when I was young.
The Internet is truly neutral territory and can enable so many things. It pains me when I see that so many of our youth with such limited knowledge of what’s out there for them and such a limited perspective on what they can become. I know for a fact that this same limited perspective of opportunity often leads many down a negative path. We have the chance to change that. I know for a lot of parents the question is where do I begin to educate them. I wanted to give some of my thoughts on what to do.
- Get them on the Internet: The latest Pew Internet study showed that only 44% of African Americans in the U.S. have adopted broadband internet in the home. Now I know part of the challenge is that a lot of parents are not comfortable on the Internet themselves, but this is something you can do together. If the cost of a computer is an issue, go to the library and use the Internet there. They often have classes that can help. Also keep in mind that nowadays you can buy a good computer for the price of a gaming console.
- Start them young: The sooner you get your children on a computer, the less intimidating it will be to them. There are many stories out there where toddlers have developed a comfort level on the computer in no time (I know because mine did).
- Make them figure out “How did they create that?”: Many of our children play video games and look at sites but never ask the question how did they create that? So have them do the research and tell you how the things they enjoy are created. They will begin to see how easy it can be to do it themselves.
- Encourage their love of Math and Science: Some kids love math and science, but lack of programs in schools and/or the lack of social encouragement causes the love to diminish. Help your child to keep the fire burning. Khan Academy offers free tutorials that allows children to learn math concepts on their own terms even if their school is not doing it.
- Get them using software: Wherever their passion lies, get them software that allows them to do it. Whether it’s music, art, etc., there’s a program out there to accommodate it and most of the time it’s free. This will further their interest and gets them accustomed to using software tools, which will go a long way in school and in their career.
- Show them examples of kids creating things online: The beauty of the Internet is that you’re never too young to create something. Write a blog, create an app, the opportunities are endless and there are kids doing it today. There’s a case of four kids that started programming at a young and are now creating iPhone apps and making money. Once kids see what’s possible they start to see themselves doing it.
- Start these things today: Everyday we don’t connect boys to positive things that harness their God-given talents, we lose them to things that destroy those talents. It’s that important and the opportunity for change is that big.
Any questions about where to find things or how to start feel free to email me at email@example.com and follow me on twitter @navarrowwright.Category: Diversity | Tags: black web 2.0, khan academy, Technology