The team addressing digital divide issues amongst middle-aged housewives primarily focused on how the digital divide affected the relationship between children and themselves.
As housewives, their primary concerns revolve around the family relationship and daily housework. In this day and age of computers, it is so easy for children develop online communication habits and indulge in digital interaction. On the other hand, parents are usually uninformed of how to use digital means of communication, especially those from low-income families who did not grow up with computers. As a consequence, a clear digital gap exists between parents and their kids when parents have no idea about online applications or computer usage.
In order to improve this issue, there is a need to equip parents with better computer skills. Hence, our team organized a course to teach housewives from low-income family how to type in Chinese and introduce basic computer usage to them. The 12 participants who signed up reflected their dire need to develop basic computer skills in order to better communicate with their children, and they were also interested in how the Internet could help ease their housework. Even though the course was simple, our team members hoped that it would first eliminate their fear of using computers. Ambassadors from other teams also came to help, and provided their own personal laptops for the classes.
We were pleasantly surprised with the progress they made within the 3 consecutive classes. They started from being completely ignorant of Chinese input methods, to understanding how thousands of Chinese characters are generated from just 26 digits on the keyboard. It was interesting how being able to type their names, their kids’ and husbands’ names gave them such a sense of satisfaction. They also learnt how to use the Internet browser to search for supermarkets and prices. In addition, most of the housewives came with their kids, which was a great opportunity for parent-child interaction.
NetMission Ambassadors believe that the project not only brought practical computer skills to the housewives, but also proved that what the middle-aged group lacked is opportunity and not ability. We are glad we could devote our knowledge and love to build a more caring society.