The progressive and transformation of technology through creativity, invention and innovation has made the entire world easy to access in any point one wishes to access from wherever he is. Thus internet has made the world easy meeting point both in business, education, civilization and development. It has given people a leeway to do various activities while they are in their house without necessarily travelling to and from. Furthermore internet plays a vital and important role in the learning institutions, government agencies and organizations, companies, business entities and non-governmental organizations. It has made work easier, simple and accessible especially in terms of communication effectiveness. And anyone in this modern world can know and understand what is happening globally because of the availability and access of internet. Internet use among the youths has increased rapidly and they form part of the largest group in the world that uses internet in day to day activities. Thus this paper examines ways in which youths are using internet today, the impact of youths using the internet today and what can be done to guide the youths to effectively and efficiently use the internet for their own benefits.
Ways in which youths use internet today
Through studying essential materials online
Internet has enabled the youths to be able to study online especially reading and learning relevant topics that are related to their courses and topics that affect them in really life in one way or another. For example youths can use internet for doing and studying online courses from an institution that offers relevant courses that are in line with their discipline and field. This has enable the youths to do their course work wherever they are without destruction and disruption from human daily activities like transportation which sometimes results to road accidents
Through social media engagement
Social media in this modern society has become a vibrant and active field that is occupied with youths. Youths use their internet in social media interactions like Facebook, instagram, twitter and whatsapp in uploading photos and trending with the current issues within a particular context, e.g. social issues, political issues and economic issues that affect them. Social media interactions also has enabled and created awareness among the youths on what is happening and where it’s happening. For example the recent River side attack, where the information was able to be spread throughout the Nairobi city and the country at large via the social media platform and everyone was made alert on what’s happening.
Through online blogging
Many youths today have created online websites by the use of the internet to convey information that create awareness, sensitize and empower the youths, on various social, economic, political, spiritual, environmental and technological. This has enabled many youths to read and understand how they should handle some vital issues from both dimensions and mitigate the overwhelming challenges that affect them in their daily lives. For example the CynthiaUntamed blog by Cynthia Nyogesa that emphasizes on youth empowerment and morning awaits blog by Francis Wachira that emphasizes the spiritual growth.
Through online business engagement
Many youths use internet today to engage themselves in online marketing business that help them to earn their daily living and sustain themselves. For examples many youths are using their internet to be agents in selling and marketing Jumia online products. Furthermore many youths have set up online business like fashion and design clothes, shoes and products where they are able to advertise and market online and make sales. This engagement has enable many youths to acquire financial independency as they can use their internet to make their ends meet.
Through research of essential materials
Internet among the youths have enable them to go an extra mile in doing research to improve on creativity and innovation that exist and this has contributed and still contributing the invention of great ideas that is becoming answers to various challenges that people face in their life. For example the invention of money app where one can get a loan easily like tala and branch in Kenya. Moreover internet has enabled the youths to research on essential materials on issues that affect them especially in their academics, where they are able to research on what has been there and come up with new development and theories that are essential in solving human life problems.
Positive impact of youths using internet today
Forster creativity and innovation
Internet use among the youths today have created a base for creativity and innovation, where they are able to come up with new ideas like mobile apps e.g. branch and tala that plays a great role in ensuring people can access instant loans. Furthermore throughout online engagement and reading online content youths are coming up with fresh ideas that are essentials in eradicating human conflicts and mitigating existing social issues. In the recent past cases youths have been able to run an online advocacy and lobbying on the need for the government to uphold their rights and promote social equity to all.
Improves the living standard among the youths
Youths are able to work online and get some essential incomes which has played a vital role on reducing poverty levels and improving their livelihood throughout. Moreover youths use internet to do advocacy and lobbying for job opportunities where in most cases they are able to be accommodated it various sectors of employment and earn their living.
Creates job opportunities among the youths
Youths have been able to create job opportunities of their own through content writing, online advertising of the products, fashion design and new app development. This has boosted their status quo socially and promoted economic growth in general
Empowers the youths
Many online content and blogs emphasizes on youth taking active responsibilities of their own life through changing their own attitude, acquiring new skills, and building their own abilities and utilizing the existing opportunities. This has seen many youths coming into terms of who they are and moving out of their own comfort zone and start doing online business in the area of their own interests.
Foster their academic Excellency
In these modern days internet has become of great importance especially when it comes to academic, this is because youths now can comfortable do their studies, reading and learning using online content, For example using online books which are available on the internet. This has foster academic Excellency since the youths can access various types of study materials online.
Negative impact of youths using internet today
Foster exploitation of youth character and morals
Many youths use internet to watch movies and videos that corrupts their minds like watching pornographic video contents, these has exploits their character and morals especially when it comes to engaging in early sex which has devastating consequences to their entire lives. Watching this content has become devastating when the youths want to practice what they have watched, leading to degradation of moral character.
Lowers their self esteem
The use of internet among the youths have become crucial in that youths cannot have independent mind, because they believe that everything is found online. This overdependence syndrome has made youths not to build their self-esteem especially in the learning environment, where they use plagiarism when given course assignment. This also fosters laziness and discourages handwork.
Leads to violation of human rights
Many youths using internet to abuse others especially the gender violation of women has become crucial online because youths use abusive words when passing information on social media platforms which has seen the other gender suffer depressions because of the social media assault.
Leads to cyber crimes
Internet use among the youths has turned out to be a corrupt zone especially to the youths who are after stealing online from others. There are increase cases of cyber-crimes because of youths using internet to hack other peoples account and stealing money or accessing crucial information and using the information to humiliate them in public or use it to ask for cash. In many cases this has landed the youths into problems because when they are caught they face the legal consequences which in many cases send them for imprisonment
Fosters gabbling among the youths
Youths are now directing their energy and power by use of internet to play gabbling games like betting. These have made youths loss a lot of cash and commit suicide on various incidents
Factors to be in place to guide the youths on using internet for their own benefits
For example creating awareness and sensitization on effective and efficient use of the internet among the youths, this will help to mitigate the various incidents of youths misusing and abusing the internet through gabbling rather than creating innovative ideas
Formulation and implementation of policies that guides internet use
Rules and regulations that will guide the internet use especially online should be enforced so that the youths are aware of the consequences of violating other people’s rights. This will help to curb the gender violation of women and also will provide a guideline on the mode of operation when using internet among the youths.
Blocking of sites that corrupts youth character and morals
For example the sites that streams pornographic videos should be blocked to reduce the sex abuse among the youths. This will help the youths at a greater percentage on sexual control since the catalyst sites that promotes sexual arousal cannot be accessed anymore.
Setting up Youth empowerment online initiative
For example setting up online initiative that informs the youths to take active responsibilities on using internet and the initiative should encourage the youths to focus on using internet to build their skills, knowledge, capacities and abilities rather than wasting time watching unnecessary contents.
It is evident that youths can use internet for their personal gain and build their own society in different ways and in the same way they can use the internet to destroy, disrupts, destruct and degrade the moral existence and values of the society. Thus youths should take active responsibility of using internet knowing that there are many and existing advantages and there are also existing consequences for those who use internet to do unnecessary things.
Understanding media cultures: social theory and mass communication
By: Nick Stevenson.