50 Ways to Use the Internet

By Jean F. Andrews

Map of uunet global Internet backbone. Image: Manchester AC
Map of uunet global Internet backbone.
Image: Manchester AC

In collaboration with a deaf inmate, we put together 50 different ways to use the Internet. For a deaf person, the Internet is a necessity not a luxury as it is for hearing people, who have the option of using the audio-cell phone.  Banning deaf persons who are released from prison, from using the Internet is a cruel and inhumane penalty that smacks of retribution rather than rehabilitation. It also makes no sense in terms of trying to rehabilitate and integrate the deaf person back into his or her family, the workforce or even society in general. With today’s technology of computer data loggers and tracking methods, restrictions and safeguards can be imposed. These insure that the individual’s devices cannot be used inappropriately. But to flat-out forbid the total use of technological devices for released deaf criminal offenders is counterproductive and unjust as well as contrary to our goals of rehabilitation.

"Traceroute" is a tool that tracks the "hops" made by electronic communications. Image: Isoc.org
Traceroute is a tool that tracks the hops made by electronic communications. Image: Isoc.org

1.     refilling medications

2.     making reservations

3.     finding phone numbers

4.     finding addresses

5.     finding emails

6.     paying bills

7.     checking weather

8.     joining support groups

9.     checking bank account

10.  research

11.  ordering a pizza

12.  ordering flowers

13.  ordering books

14.  checking out books from a library

15.  contacting friends

16.  tracking shipping items

17.  seeking other advice

18.  access to online manuals

19.  contacting family

20.  making appointments

21.  filing taxes

22.  looking up recipes

23.  searching for apartments

24.  finding jobs

25.  contacting work

26.  finding coupons

27.  renting movies

28.  connecting to cable services

29.  reading the newspaper

30.  taking online courses

31.   filing out online applications

32.  checking activity schedules

33.  filing social security

34.  purchasing from online stores

35.  checking store sales

36.  contacting stores for help

37.  conducting phone interviews.

38.  Researching medications

39.  contacting ministers

40.  contacting church schedules

41.  applying for credit cards

42.  learning how to fix household appliances

43.  contacting funeral homes

44.  checking for weather alerts (i.e. hurricanes, tornadoes)

45.  contacting police

46.  contacting lawyer

47.  looking up vocabulary

48.  locating bus, train, plane schedules and delays

49.  buying museum tickets

50.  buying sports events tickets on line

[Editor’s Note: Having been professionally involved with the Internet since the BBS days of the mid-1980s, it is not without a certain personal pride, that I state the above 50 uses are but a drop in the bucket. The Internet offers life saving and life enhancing uses to us all, but most significantly, to the Deaf. The advent of smart phones and tablets have further unchained us from our desks, and now Deaf people can enjoy almost literally the same access to services as can the hearing. Through ASL and the Internet, it is possible that the entire world will soon, no longer view deafness as a disability at all.

Also please note: HEARD’s #DeafInPrison link to the screening of Al Jazeera America‘s excellent documentary is now live. It will only be available for viewing, this weekend.  Please take a few minutes to watch this entertaining and informative broadcast, and then post your support and impressions on your social media channels, using the hashtag – #DeafInPrison. Here’ s the link: http://www.facebook.com/l/QAQHw5OiQ/bit.ly/DeafPrisoners

–BitcoDavid]

Jean F. Andrews is a Reading Specialist and Professor of Deaf Studies/Deaf Education at Lamar University.

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