Preparing Critical, Empowered Girls to Use the Internet

As I’ve discussed, my use of the “good” and “bad” Internet dichotomy in conversations with my daughters, ages 11 and 8, caused me to pause.  In reflection, I’ve decided I want to think about how the Internet can be used to empower children, girls, like my daughters, specifically. 

We know that digital tools in schools and classrooms can be used to support the curriculum in beneficial ways.  For example, such tools promote collaboration, exploration of one’s identity, inquiry, and even social action (Price-Dennis, 2016).  Sometimes extra-curricular opportunities, like tech camps or clubs can provide similar affordances (England & Cannella, 2018).  How can we support girls to be critical and empowered in their use of the Internet at home?

First, to be a critical, empowered user of the Internet, girls need access and opportunities, at home.  If we take a restrictive stance, it restricts their opportunities.  In addition, girls need opportunities to be creators.  This might include creating games, podcasts, and movies.  Perhaps girls can choose topics related to their lives, interests, and issues in their community as content for their creations. Such opportunities may empower them.

In what ways are your daughters (or sons) creators?  In what ways might you empower them?

Price-Dennis, D. “Developing curriculum to support Black girls’ literacies in digital spaces.” English Education 48, no. 4 (2016): 337-361.England, J., & Cannella, R. (2018). Tweens as technofeminists: Exploring girlhood identity in technology camp. Girlhood Studies11(1), 75-91

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Elizabeth Stevens

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