TUCSON, Arizona – In a world dominated by technology, there are still many Hispanics in the United States who for different reasons like the lack of economic resources, scanty knowledge of English or their age are lagging in their use of computers.
“Many Hispanics are being left out of the digital world. These days, everything is done with a computer, from managing your bank account to looking for a job,” Wanda Ronquillo, an engineer with IBM in Arizona, told Efe.
IBM, along with a group of Hispanic engineers from the University of Arizona, on Saturday held several workshops on using computers in Spanish in Tucson to help Latinos learn how to set up e-mail accounts and access social sites on the Internet, among other things.
“We want our community to know how to navigate this ‘digital enchilada,’” because these days knowing how to surf the Web is essential, Ronquillo said.
“The uses of computers are infinite. They help us to communicate, to do business, to learn and, finally, they make life simpler for us, not only for the user, but for the entire family,” she said.
There are many reasons why there are still many Hispanics who have not joined the digital world, according to Ronquillo, including fear of the unknown, especially among older people who did not grow up with this technology.
“The lack of economic resources is also a barrier. There are times that families don’t have the money to buy a computer or to pay for Internet service,” said the engineer.
She said that if the Hispanic community wants to move forward and make progress in the United States, its members must start by getting to know the online world.
“Many immigrants from ... countries like Mexico arrive in this country and work and often they don’t know how to use a computer and they’re afraid of learning to use it because they don’t know English,” she added.
People like Jorge Hernandez, 63, a Mexican immigrant first learned to use a computer during the La Familia workshop, which was attended by 200 people, most of them of Hispanic origin.
“I really want to learn. I couldn’t do it before because they told me that to learn computers I first had to know English,” Hernandez told Efe as he learned about various computer functions.
“I’m tired of depending on my children to do things for me when I need something on the Internet,” Maria del Carmen Soto, a 45-year-old Mexican immigrant who has a computer at home but never has been able to use it, told Efe. EFE