For Homeless Queer Youth, the Web Can Be a Resource and a Danger

Do smartphones help or hinder survival on the streets?

Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images

According to the Williams Institute, about 40 percent of homeless youth are LGBTQ, largely due to rejection and often violence at the hands of their families and community. While there’s no single solution to this heartbreaking social epidemic, it’s important to listen to the youth themselves when trying to figure out what might help. As this instructive mini-doc from Vocativ demonstrates, one very helpful resource is access to the Internet, particularly through the relative privacy of smartphones. However, while the youth featured in the doc—clients of Atlanta’s Lost-N-Found queer youth shelter—all note the importance of connectivity in their survival, the doc cautions that access can come with risks as well, especially in vulnerable communities like this one. Take a look: