Internet.org Comes to India

Reliance and Facebook together have launched Internet.org app on their phones to connect to online social networks. This is a wonderful initiative to provide basic internet access to all for free. It enables the user to search the web for news, medical tips without having to worry about mobile data charges. It is obvious the tool is made keeping low income and rural users specifically in mind and they sure are going to benefit a lot with proper usage of it. It is available in English and six Indian languages — Malayalam, Gujarati, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, and Marathi — and can be accessed through an Android app. Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said, “To continue connecting the world, we have to connect India.”Freenet, as the name implies is free software that helps to share files, browse and publish free websites. There are a billion people in India who aren’t connected to net yet, this apps will connect all. It is decentralized and that makes it less vulnerable to attack. The “darknet” mode enables users to connect to their friends and it is very difficult to detect the usage.

Freenet can be used from simple high school study help to organized community work. It can build awareness, involve and include people from various walks of life, make progress on various fronts provided it is used wisely and effectively. The biggest positive factor of this tool is the anonymity it provides to the user. Youngsters can use the medium to chat freely without fear of censorship. The wide range of access possible is another big plus of this.

Here are a few ways how Internet can be a useful tool for youth in general:

  • Right from high school level, the students can be guided to use this ‘apps’ for easy reference to study material which can help in improving scores in examinations. Usage of modern tools inspires learning and builds enthusiasm in young minds. Students from financially weaker sections can benefit a lot.
  • The visual medium of teaching can help ‘hearing impaired’ students. This can help them gain confidence and to be at par with other normal students.
  • In matters of sex where the adolescents often shy away from clearing doubts and difficulties, free internet access can be a boon. This can also be a means to maintain healthy offline relationships in social networking sites.
  • Online forums like blogs, web pages, facebook pages can help maintain a log of events and activities in life and in their fields of expertise. This has a positive effect on their well being and can help them excel in their fields. Some have even gone on to become full fledged authors.
  • The high number of search for online solutions to health problems is a good indicator that today’s youth is more health conscious. A conservative girl or woman is likely to seek opinion about the lump in her breast if she knows there is more privacy in this online approach. They would prefer this method over confiding in her friends and relatives.
  • For adolescents stepping into their adult life, internet can be used as a powerful tool to warn them of the risks of obesity, unhealthy food, smoking, drugs, problems of addiction and risky sexual behavior. Counseling sessions for various disorders can be done with the help of net.

A simple example of use will be for better living conditions in rural areas. Freenet can be a platform to connect rural youths, help them discuss the problems being faced, get ideas from other social media groups to implement in their area. It can be thus used for welfare and betterment of the community.

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12 Responses

  1. Great idea.Nothing like providing internet access to everyone.

  2. Mridula says:

    Sounds like a wonderful initiative.

  3. Wow..wonderful initiative 🙂

  4. Truly useful to many around who find it difficult to afford normal internet costs…. Timely info!

  5. Seems great from Indian perspective. Thanks, Indrani, for sharing this useful info 🙂

  6. Reliance doing anything for free, I doubt very much. Most likely business calculation is their phone and service will sell. Freenet is available in the west. Most university students use it. I do not know why it is not popular here in India.

  7. Wow…… Good initiative!

  8. Dhiyana says:

    Nice initiative!

  9. It is a bit doubtful… they have a handful of sites for which you will have free access to… rest you will have to pay for including google according to some sources…

    eventually it will threaten the internet as we know it today…

  10. Very useful tool. Thanks for sharing this information Indrani.

    I entered freenet in Google Play Store and it returned two results – Free Internet 3g and FreenetMail. I suppose, you are mentioning about Freenet. Right?

  11. Najm Nisa says:

    I agree a wonderful initiative indeed ! I heard about this initiative a few weeks back when someone tweeted about it ! Its going to be a stepping stone for rural development !

  12. I too read this in few blogs. Everyone jumping out wow., good option., but no one has ever said, yes I am using this option and its speed is good/bad, is it a ad free service? No comments from anyone about this. so sad. 🙁

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