March 14, 2007

Ride the Waves or Drown?

I am reminded each day about the changes that keep rolling over us like waves.

Yesterday we're watching a movie called Edtv where Ed, the video store clerk, agrees to have his life filmed by a camera crew for a tv network. Today I find out that Edtv is no longer a movie. is a reality show that streams over the web, every moment of Justin’s life captured through a camera attached to his hat.

Yesterday we're seeking out Beanie Babies and Tickle Me Elmos as gifts for our children. Today, my kids want to adopt Webkinz -- these lovable plush pets that each come with a unique Secret Code. With it, my kids enter Webkinz World where they care for their virtual pet, answer trivia, earn KinzCash, and play against other kids from all over the world.

Justin.TV and Webkinz are enabled by the explosion of broadband access to the Internet. It doesn't seem that long ago that I was operating the Electronic Village as a bulletin board system with a 24 baud modem. I'm gettin' old!

While all of this tremendous potential is flattening our world and making it possible for the Electronic Village blog to be read by folks from Africa, China, India, Japan as well as the United States ... I worry that there are too many Black children here in America that are missing the ride. There are too many Black children that don't have a computer at home, or access to the Internet at home, or training necessary to use the computer. I worry about the future of the Black community if our children aren't encouraged and nurtured to become part of this brave new world. I do what I can through my work with the BDPA Education & Technology Foundation (BETF). Will it be enough?

Like I said, I am reminded each day about the changes that keep rolling over us like waves. I want our children to ride the waves ... not be drowned by them.


Danielle said...

I hear you loud and clear, Wayne.
I come from a poor background and am the only one in my family to have the financial security (thanks to my husband's hard work) I now enjoy. My family back in Boston does not have a computer at home and can't read my wisdom on the screen. I want to point out a free resource available to everyone that I highly recommend, the public library. Most have computers available for adults and children accessible with a free library card. In addition to the computer access, books, digital media, cds, movies, magazines and so much more are offered to the community. No American regardless of race or class should be left behind, none.

Anonymous said...

The digital divide should not be taken lightly. We must ensure that our childern are prepared for technology age. Its is everyones responsiblity to make this happen. Don't let our children become outsiders in this game

Anonymous said...

This is such a critical issue for our community, and I'm really glad you're talking about it. What far too many of us don't realize is that those of us who aren't able to speak internet won't be able to fare too much better in the new economy than someone who can't speak English applying for an upper management job with a Fortune 500 company. Being tech literate is no longer an option. It is a necessity for our economic survival.

Unknown said...

Danielle, Latimer & Keith,

Thank you for your comments. You each have important perspective. I encourage each of you to find the local BDPA chapter in your city. BDPA works to eliminate the digital divide in our community. Danielle, we need to get Internet access in your Boston homestead ... your musings are too good for them to be missing out on!


Anonymous said...

Right on *with fist in the air*!

Thanks for this post. I feel the same way. I do have plans to join BDPA because I like what they're doing. The black community needs this type of information. We can't afford to get left behind.

Unknown said...

Theo - Did you ever make the move to join BDPA in your area?