Muggins Here takes over: The Internet

[Background: BBC R4 Woman’s hour gave 5 prominent women the chance to discuss topics that interested or moved them. The resulting programmes were so powerful that Muggins Here is joining in and lining up real ideas for an imaginary #WHtakeover.  Comment and join in at #imaginaryguesteditor – what are the topics that matter to you? NB: Woman’s hour is not just for women, in 2013 44% of its 3.9 million listeners were male, but it remains a space to discuss overlooked issues such as the increase in unpaid carers or including sanitary products as a vital part of international aid. *All text links are articles, TED talks and sources NOT ads or spam.]

First up, the Internet. As Bill Gates said, ‘the Internet changes everything’ but just as it has changed the way we live, we have changed how we use it. It is no longer simply a resource but also a tool. The potenital to empower and improve lives has been shown to have a particularly positive effect on those with low income or education, those in the developing world and women in general. It gives us all autonomy, security, access to community and a voice. However, it is not perfect; navigating the hackers, stalkers and trolls (who aim to cause hurt and distress by making extreme comments anonymously) can be difficult. It seems the Internet has the power to bring out the best and worst of human nature.

While we talk about the new generation of ‘Digital Natives’ and the Queen’s speech talks of the right for broadband in every household in Britain, there are still those without Internet access or the necessary computing skills to get online. Several organisations are looking to address this imbalance and introduce people to the advantages of internet use.

Overview:

Virtual Empowerment

Troll Control

Helping Digital Expats

Guest wishlist and talking points. A skeleton draft for the imaginary programme.

Empowerment:

Autonomy: Jayne Hardy is CEO of the Blurt foundation , ‘Digital Maverick’, working mother and uses the internet to create a community for those with depression. Martha Lane Fox set up Lastminute.com and is UK Digital Champion helping others to get online.

Community: Blurt Peer support network allows those with depression to help eachother, offering understanding and compassion without the long waiting lists that accompany so many offline suppot services.  Stefana Broadbent on how the internet enables better intimacy by helping us communicate more frequently with those closest to us.

Voice: Malala Yousafzai wrote a BBC blog aged 11 that told the world about what was happening in Pakistan, making her a Taliban target at the age of 15. Juliana Rotich of Ushahidi uses crowdsource technology to help individuals report human rights breaches despite media blackouts, direct response teams during disasters  and even provide scientific data to help enviromental monitoring.

Troll Control

Staying safe online: Del Harvey works to protect twitter users often from themselves.

Moderators: Chips with everything podcast covers the issue of aggression, discrimination and extreme views in comments below the line , talking to Becky Gardiner as part of the Guardian series on online harassment (the majority of which is aimed at women) . Lindy West once confronted one of her trolls with surprising results

Helping digital expats

Digital skills: Go ON Lewisham is part of a national program launched by Martha Lane Fox, helps individuals and small businesses to access the internet which the Lloyds Consumer Digital Index found to save the average customer £744.

Developing counries: Juliana Rotich devlops the BRCK for online access in areas with frequent power cuts and connectivity issues.

I’ve left out question ideas because this was becoming a monster of a post and this is essentially one big fat discussion prompt on the issues I feel we should be discussing and highlighting the people who are making a difference. Lining up another for next week, think daily was a bit over eager!

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