The Access Problem
Posted by robsandthecity
According to his Internet access model, social media specialist Van DiJk suggests there are many different reasons why people in the 21st century are not using the Internet. In his model he offers various motives, which explain why there is such a large portion of society not taking advantage of the Internet.
There is one figure in particular that I find particularly strange. According to his information, Van Dijk estimates that 10% of young people aged 17 to 23 define themselves as “lapsed internet users” meaning they were once – perhaps at school – online, but since they left such establishments they haven’t continued to connect. Now, when it comes to us gays, I can’t help but wonder, why?
The motive I find most interesting and possibly relatable is cyber bullying.
We have all been made aware of cyber bullying, whether we have been victims, culprits or onlookers, I’m sure there has been a time in all of our lives where we have seen cyber bullying taking place. Luckily for me, the worst I ever got was a few nasty questions on “Form spring” but I know that there are thousands of people out there who were not so lucky.
Whilst researching the topic of cyber bullying and us gays, I came across another blogger who had some rather interesting information about the United States and Internet content filtration.
According to John Aravosis – editor of the LGBT blog ‘AMERICA blog’ – the pentagon has in force a filter, which finds – and in many cases blocks – pro LGBT websites (I wonder if this blog is on their hit-list?).
This although shocking as it may be, was not what I found disturbing. What sent my head spinning, was reading on that the pentagon has no such filtration or blockage on anti gay websites.
These are websites dedicated to spread the word that being gay is disgusting and a reason for concern. They relish in the prospect of hurting other people, of striking them down, crushing their spirit and oh did I mention (pardon my French) they are also utter bullshit.
I can’t help but wonder whether or not there is a link between gay teen suicides in America, and the filtration problem. Perhaps if there were a blockade on anti gay web sources, teenagers wouldn’t feel as isolated and hopeless.
When it comes to us gays, in the case of un-just access barriers, we can see that the Internet can (when so unfairly filtered by governments) be used to make us feel alone and hopeless.
But we are not alone, and we are not hopeless. For everyone out there that has ever been bullied for being who you are, no matter what the bigots and bullies of the cyber world (and real world) have to say about you, know this – you are beautiful, important and so, so loved.
Aravosis, J, 2013, LGBT bad, Anti-LGBT good. [Online] available from; http://americablog.com/2013/02/dod-memo-gay-internet-filter-ban.html [accessed 27th February 2013]