Share this post.

The Mentor’s Field Guild; Question 67

In low-income urban neighborhoods, 84% of children live in households that do not have access to the Internet. The problem is even worse in low-income rural areas.

This means that unless they can catch up, many children will be blocked from the enormous opportunities to work, learn, and play that are open to children who possess “21st-century literacy skills.”

Help your mentee assess where she stands with respect to Internet use and skill that should be the norm for children her age. Then work with her to build the skills she needs. One good resource is Common Sense Media. See especially Zero to Eight: Children’s Media Use in America (2011, downloadable at

Whether you are mentoring in a program that takes place in a school or in the community, spend time learning about Internet access at your mentee’s school.

Also, look beyond internet access. While access is the first obstacle to overcome, training and parental involvement are also seen as important boosts to help kids make the most of any access they have.

We believe many mentors, especially those who are skilled in this area or want to learn about it along with their mentees, can also offer a boost. In fact, helping a child begin to get up to speed in this important area is an ideal role for modern mentors.

This is one barrier that need not be insurmountable for children living in disadvantaged circumstances. Seize the day.


Reprinted with permission from The Mentor’s Field guide: Answers You Need to Help Kids Succeed by Gail Manza and Susan K. Patrick; Questions about the Mentoring Relationship, Question 67. Reprinted with permission from Search Institute®, Copyright © 2012 Search Institute, Minneapolis, MN ; 877-240-7251, ext. 1; All rights reserved.