Question: I hear a lot about how Latinos are the hot demographic and that being bilingual is a ticket to success in the 21st century. However, what good is being bilingual if you don't know how to use the Internet? Forget English as a second language — how about getting Web-savvy professionals into the "barrios" (neighborhoods) to teach kids how to have careers in an online world — as opposed to knowing how to text-message and create MySpace pages? Any advice on what the best way is to get Latinos more involved in the digital world?

Lily: I've always viewed education as empowerment. But before people can build a Web site, they should have basic grammar down and know how to communicate in the nonvirtual world. How many teens out there know the difference between an adjective and an adverb? How many can speak and write in an articulate manner?

While computer skills are the key to landing the 21st-century job, we should also stress that a "chavito" (kiddo) be eloquent, well- mannered and multilingual — not just bilingual. Don't disregard MySpace as a potential avenue to attract youths toward a brighter tomorrow — maybe they wouldn't rely on it as much if we were communicating with them more about becoming responsible adults and preparing for professional careers.

Danny: Wow, you certainly put much thought into this one. I have to say you are onto something, and perhaps it should be your project going forward. I am sure there are plenty of organizations willing to fund or back you up if you choose to take up the cause.

I must point out some challenges in your quest, however. Being Web-savvy in a predominantly English-speaking nation won't do anyone one much good unless the barrio kids plan on heading back to their parents' or grandparents' country of origin. Local school districts would have to be the major catalyst to implement and execute this type of global project.

And let's not forget the parents. Parents have to have an interest in their children's future beyond the trends to prepare them for real-world situations.

Being Web-savvy can help in today's business market, but I have yet to have a computer or Web link handle my face-to-face interview. The importance of education, knowing English and having the basic skills to present oneself are still king in the professional world.

Catherine: Well put, Danny! Your last paragraph captures my sentiments exactly.

The upcoming generation will be able to run circles around us all when it comes to technology. Dedicated programs are important to advancing students' Web knowledge, but basic communication skills should be our main concern. Here's to speaking in full sentences, firm handshakes and solid eye contact.

We want your questions! Consejos is a bicultural advice column that focuses on relationships, identity and workplace issues. Contact: consejos or Consejos, The Dallas Morning News, P.O. Box 655237, Dallas, TX 75265. You can also visit to access previous columns and to comment on the Consejos blog. © The Dallas Morning News. Dist. by Universal Press Syndicate