Internet Safety and Digital Literacy in Latino Youth
Posted on 08/10/2022 @ 04:00 AM
By Priscilla Garcia
The Conexiones program came to life in 2019 when LULAC wanted to address the barriers that low-income youth come across with technology in their communities. The program provides youth between the ages of 14 to 18 with basic computer literacy skills and teaches them how to manage the internet in a safe and ethical way while developing their digital skills. In today’s world students are using the internet everyday, no matter their age, to complete their school work, participate in classes, or just for fun. Internet safety and digital literacy skills are essential now more than ever so students can know how to protect themselves online and how to safely navigate the internet.
LULAC knows just how important internet safety is in our community. Young students who are not familiar with safety are more open to sharing confidential information such as health, identity, and bank information. LULAC has been at the forefront for technology access through LULAC’s technology centers and programs that has serviced over 250,000 people across the country and Puerto Rico since 2007.
For their second year of their partnership with T-Mobile, LULAC is welcoming six sites in DC, California, Texas, and Virginia for the 2022 Conexiones program cycle. LULAC and T-Mobile’s commitment to address the digital divide, expand awareness of internet safety, and highlight the benefits and opportunities to connect to the internet will empower students to create positive technology habits that will be used in everyday activities.
According to a 2020 Student Research Foundation Report, despite having similar STEM interests and aspirations as their non-Hispanic white and Asian peers, Hispanic high school students were less likely to have internet access and digital preparation. Due to this, they also enrolled in fewer STEM classes, received lower grades, had lower confidence levels, and planned to attend community college, as opposed to a four-year school, at higher rates. The Conexiones program will also promote exposure to STEM fields of study and careers in an effort to increase students' interest in occupations related to STEM. Some of the topics that will be covered in the curriculum include privacy and security, digital footprints and reputation, self image and identity, copyright, relationships and communication, information literacy, combating cyber bullying, and internet safety.
Our 2022 Conexiones Awardees:
Council 4614-Richmond, VA
Council 4614 has partnered with Thomas Jefferson High School in Richmond, VA to bring the Conexiones program to their Robotics Program. The Richmond Region LULAC Council 4614 is strategically aligned and purposefully driven to be a strong catalyst in regional efforts to improve the lives of students by developing and implementing high-quality, workforce-relevant STEM+C (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics + computer science) programs, curricula, and resources which spark interest in students and develop competencies they need for STEM+C studies and careers.
Council 11125-Washington, DC
Council 11125 will conduct programming for Conexiones at E.L Haynes Public Charter School in Washington, DC. They plan on using Conexiones to help their students learn more about STEM careers and other opportunities in the technology sector that they may not be aware of. Their council has extensive experience working with local nonprofits and federal government agencies through past events and initiatives that they have hosted for their youth council members.
Council 2848- Huntington Beach, CA
Council 2848 in Huntington Beach, CA will be providing the Conexiones program for the students at Gilbert High School. They will implement the curriculum and introduce the digital world to the students in safe and ethical ways. They hope to increase their positive technology habits that are used in everyday activities and expand awareness of internet safety.
Council 22424- College Station, TX
Council 22424 is hopeful that the quality of education that many Bryan ISD families rely on can not only be improved, but maintained at the higher standard of excellence that has been striven for over the past decade and more. They also believe Conexiones will set up a strong foundation for their LULAC council to establish itself in their community to continue bringing these opportunities to their fellow community members and key stakeholders.
Council 4297- Killeen, TX
Council 4297 hopes the Conexiones program will support their mission by ensuring their future generation is exposed to resources to help them move forward on their educational path. Unlike the other grant recipients, the program will strive to make an impact while the students are still in middle school. Their council can help shape the educational path of these students by exposing them to STEM education, digital skills, and internet safety early on in their academic career.
Mi Familia Vota Education Fund- Houston, TX
The Mi Familia Vota Education Fund has partnered with Dr. Sonia Noyola, a teacher at Northside High School, in Houston, TX to bring this program to her students. She has participated in the 2021 cycle and is hopeful that their second year will help engage more of her youth community and expose them to more opportunities. She plans on teaching her students the curriculum and having them engage with the younger middle school students by teaching them internet safety through their own words.
To learn more about the Conexiones program visit www.lulac.org/conexiones.