Everyone has an internet health story to tell.

Mine begins in elementary school, with one of my earliest memories of the internet: hearing the dial up tone while my cousin connected to a browser to show me the Hamster dance. As a child, it was the greatest, funniest thing ever. I think we watched it more times than I’d like to admit.

I use the internet for different reasons now (although I do still enjoy a good laugh from a goofy video every now and again). My work and personal life is centered around my internet connection, from writing communication campaigns for MozFest to ordering groceries for home delivery.

To be honest, my understanding of internet health was non-existent until I started working with Mozilla. The work was, well, just work in the beginning, but being thrown in the middle of conversations about digital rights, web literacy, and privacy and security quickly opened my eyes to the issues that affect each and every person who connects to the web. I’m learning something new every day, and this year in particular has been the greatest opportunity for me to observe, listen, and collaborate for action – to do my part for a healthier internet.

My Internet Health Story | MozRetreat 2019 with Kristina Gorr and Bhuvana Meenakshi
Kristina Gorr at MozFest 2019 standing by a desk filled with MozFest 10th Anniversary Books

Working as Communications Manager for the Mozilla Festival makes it easy for me to contribute within the digital rights community by raising awareness and helping others contribute to the internet health movement. But guess what? You don’t need access to thousands of people online to make a difference. Start with your next door neighbor or that family friend that you know so well. Offer to help them better secure their video apps, or share resources about misinformation. Take part in conversations about Black Life Matters and encourage others to do the same. We can build a healthier internet together, one person at a time.

What’s Your Internet Health Story?

So now that you’ve heard a bit of my story, I want to hear from you.

How do you identify with the internet health movement? Why is it important to you? What will you do in the next ten years to participate in the movement?

Take some time to reflect on your experience online and think through how your experiences have shaped your story. How can you turn your story into action for the good of the digital rights community? Put your story into a narrative and post it on your personal blog or social media to share it with family and friends to introduce them to the movement.

If you’re interested in sharing your story more broadly, complete this form for the opportunity to share your story on MozFest’s website, our newsletter, twitter, or blog.

Internet Health Stories From The Community

Here’s a few internet health stories that have been shared from within the internet health movement that I encourage you to add to your reading list. I’ve pulled an excerpt from each below, then linked to their full story on their personal blog.

“I remember the day when we got an internet connection; I was eight years old. We used a dial-up link through a phone line. The sound of the dialing tone is legendary to this day. My brothers and I couldn’t stay connected all day long, as is common today; phone companies billed us for the regular phone call. We appreciated what we have; it wasn’t granted. I remember how I wanted to download a 30 MB file. It took me an hour and a half. Just recently, we remembered playing Warcraft 3 online through dial-up. Could you imagine the lag? Fun times!”

Vladimir Záhradník

Read Vladmir's full internet health story here.

“My history with the Internet Health officially started in 2014, the same year when I started teaching, in this year, I met the Mozilla community in Brazil. Some months later, I began to do volunteer work helping with translation, support, and community engagement. My first activity as a volunteer was to contribute to organizing the WebMaker party in my region (pt-br), back in the days when Mozilla was launching the WebMaker app. I still remember the joys of the kids who are participating in the first time they started to learn more about how websites are made and how they can build their websites, it was amazing!”

Felipe Do E. Santo

Read Felipe Do E. Santo's full story: MozFest Internet Health Story (english) or MozFest – Uma história sobre a Saúde da internet (Português)

“In my work I’m pledging to contribute towards the internet health movement by creating spaces for collaboration and public participation as ways to engage with other modes of thinking, knowledge production and making change through acts of collective resistance. Sustainable change can only come from, by and for the people: from the ways we find to collectively challenge oppression and how through radical acts of resistance, we find new ways to imagine the world.”

Elvia Vasconcelos

Digital Equality Means Your Voice Is Important

Digital Rights Community at MozFest 2019
A crowd of people standing around a booth at MozFest 2019 | Photo by Connor Ballard-Pateman

The Mozilla Festival welcomes and encourages participation by everyone. It doesn‘t matter how you identify yourself or how others perceive you: we welcome you.

We welcome contributions from everyone as long as they interact constructively with our community, including, but not limited to people of varied age, culture, ethnicity, gender, gender-identity, language, race, sexual orientation, geographical location and religious views.

Learn more about our commitment to inclusion in our Community Participation Guidelines.

About the Author

Kristina Gorr serves the internet health movement as Communications Manager for MozFest through using her passion for writing to raise awareness and uplift opportunities for others to get involved in critical conversations about web literacy, digital inclusion, privacy and security, and openness, to name a few. Learn more about Kristina on Mozilla Pulse.

MozFest is part art, tech and society convening, part maker festival, and the premiere gathering for activists in diverse global movements fighting for a more humane digital world. To learn more, visit www.mozillafestival.org.

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