[Nfbc-info] oh no! UK article about blind youth & internet
philosopher25 at gmail.com
Sat Oct 6 04:05:18 UTC 2012
can you detail the problems you see with the article? I am nutural at this
----- Original Message -----
From: "Lauren Merryfield" <lauren1 at catliness.com>
To: "NFB of California List" <nfbc-info at nfbnet.org>
Sent: Saturday, October 06, 2012 9:29 AM
Subject: [Nfbc-info] oh no! UK article about blind youth & internet
> I see some major problems with this article!
> advice from my cats: "meow when you feel like it."
> The most basic of all human needs is the need to understand and be
> understood. The best way to understand people is to listen to them.
> -- Ralph Nichols
> Visit us at catliness.com
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Mike Freeman" <k7uij at panix.com>
> To: <nfbwatlk at nfbnet.org>
> Sent: Friday, October 05, 2012 8:35 PM
> Subject: [nfbwatlk] FW: [List] UK article about blind youth & internet
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: list-bounces at cfb.ca [mailto:list-bounces at cfb.ca] On Behalf Of
>> list at cfb.ca
>> Sent: Wednesday, October 03, 2012 11:10 PM
>> To: list at cfb.ca
>> Subject: [List] UK article about blind youth & internet
>> Karl-Erik here with something disturbing.
>> I just read this article from a friend's post on facebook. It made me
>> want to throw up, and not because it was gross, but because of the level
>> of ignorance and misinformation that was actually published in a
>> respectable newspaper, the Guardian, about blind youth and technology,
>> noteably the internet.
>> The article is as follows:
>> Blind Young People Aren't Well Connected to the Internet... Yet
>> Back on my work email, I read a message from Lee, one of the blind young
>> people that my charity, The Royal London Society for Blind People (RLSB),
>> works with. He wrote: "At weekends I just stay at home wishing I could go
>> out and do the same things as other people. I am not allowed to go out by
>> myself and I don't want to go out with my sister all the time."
>> Lee's experience is a snapshot of life if you are blind and young. It's
>> not the futuristic digital generation, depicted in Danny Boyle's Olympic
>> opening ceremony - of making friends and expressing themselves via the
>> internet and using smartphones.
>> In the UK, more than a fifth of young married couples first met online, a
>> quarter of jobs are only advertised online, and the average person spends
>> eight hours a month on Facebook. In stark contrast, nearly 40% of
>> people have never used the internet, accounting for half of all people
>> have never been online.
>> Of the blind people motivated to get online, most go into battle using
>> outdated kit badly adapted to today's internet, which is largely built by
>> and for sighted people. Younger blind people are increasingly
>> from the internet, and this in turn intensifies the dark reality of their
>> lives: lonely, depressed, skint and with little hope for the future.
>> Not every blind young person is like Lee, of course. A small number of
>> them are actively making the most of the net: chatting, shopping, trading
>> and getting work. The solution is found in smart touchscreen devices
>> equipped with the latest software and apps.
>> Blind people have a history of using touch to empower themselves.
>> invented in the 19th century, is the classic example. In the 21st century
>> touchscreen smartphone devices will become the new Braille. So why
>> every young person that's blind get a tablet PC? Our research highlights
>> three significant barriers.
>> . First, browsing the internet is difficult if you are blind: research
>> participants took up to 11 minutes to find out the following day's
>> forecast. Unless you're a blind super-user, browsing doesn't improve
>> without specialist software and training.
>> . Second, learning to use new technology is difficult if you can't see
>> blind young people exhibit low levels of new technology adoption. It's
>> disruptive to their hard learned routines. Additionally, as technology
>> brands rarely target younger ages of blind people, they aren't aware of
>> new products.
>> . Third, touchscreen smartphones cost too much. More than two thirds of
>> blind people live in poverty - buying a device or getting a monthly data
>> contract is too often out of reach.
>> Because we speak to people like Lee every day we decided we ought to do
>> something about the situation. RLSB's goal is to get a life changing
>> accessible touchscreen device into the hands of every blind young person
>> in and around London.
>> We asked young people like Lee what would make the internet more
>> attractive - they said they wanted the internet to talk with them, like
>> the computer on Star Trek. We called this a Conversational Internet,
>> devices and users ask each other questions, jointly navigating the
>> of web pages. You can watch a concept video of it here.
>> We reached out to those we thought could help, and received incredible
>> responses from many global technology brands. IBM's UK chief executive
>> contacted us proposing their annual Extreme Blue intern program could
>> develop a prototype solution. Two weeks ago a basic working version was
>> unveiled to the press.
>> To increase adoption of new technology among blind young people we need
>> inspire people to move beyond the limits of sub-standard, difficult to
>> 'access technology' and create 'everybody technology'. I believe
>> increasingly there needn't be a choice between access or mainstream
>> technology - mainstream innovation can deliver products good enough for
>> To support this vision, we're creating an expert advisory network, drawn
>> from the third sector, to work closely with technology companies to
>> technology that works for everybody. It's also important blind people and
>> developers get to know each other better, and we'll be hosting our own
>> event called Technology without Limits on 30 November in London to do
>> And no I haven't forgotten about the third challenge; the prohibitive
>> of touchscreen technology. At our event we'll also be launching our
>> to provide a touchscreen smartphone, loaded with the best software, to
>> each and every one of the 7,000 blind young people in London who needs
>> (donations are, of course, welcome!).
>> Today, blind young people like Lee are stuck at home, isolated, inactive
>> and cut-off from the world. In the 21st century this needn't be the case.
>> Just as with Braille, with the right technology, the determination to use
>> it and our help, blind young people can take another big step towards
>> living their lives beyond blindness.
>> Julian Dailly is director of communications at the Royal London Society
>> for Blind People
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