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, the 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, the 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 the Internet. The Internet use among the youths has increased rapidly and they form part of the largest group in the world that uses the Internet in day-to-day activities. Thus, this paper examines ways in which youths are using the Internet today, the impact of youths using the Internet today and what can be done to guide the youths to effectively use the Internet for their own benefits.
Ways in Which Youths Use the Internet Today
The 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 the 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 enabled 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
Social media in this modern society has become a vibrant and active field that is occupied with youths. Youths use the Internet in social media interactions like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and WhatsApp in uploading photos and trending with the current issues within a particular context, such as the social issues, political issues and economic issues that affect them. Social media interactions also have enabled and created awareness among the youths on what is happening and where it’s happening. For example, the recent Riverside 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.
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 Cynthia Untamed blog by Cynthia Nyongesa that emphasizes on youth empowerment and morning awaits blog by Francis Wachira that emphasizes the spiritual growth.
Many youths use the 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 the 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 enabled many youths to acquire financial independency as they can use the Internet to make their ends meet.
The Internet among the youths has enabled 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, the 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 the Internet Today
Forster Creativity and Innovation
The Internet use among the youths today has 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 the 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 the Internet has become of great importance especially when it comes to academic, this is because youths now can comfortably 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 the Internet Today
Foster Exploitation of Youth Character and Morals
Many youths use the Internet to watch movies and videos that corrupts their minds like watching pornographic video contents, these has exploited 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 the 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 the 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 Cybercrimes
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 cybercrimes because of youths using the Internet to hack other people’s 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 the Internet to play gabbling games like betting. These have made youths loss a lot of cash and commit suicide on various incidents.
Factors Helping the Youth Use the Internet Effectively to Their 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 the 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 the Internet and the initiative should encourage the youths to focus on using the Internet to build their skills, knowledge, capacities and abilities rather than wasting time watching unnecessary contents.
It is evident that youths can use the 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 the Internet knowing that there are many and existing advantages and there are also existing consequences for those who use the Internet to do unnecessary things.
- ‘Understanding media cultures: social theory and mass communication’. Nick Stevenson. https://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&as_sdt=0%2C5&q=effects+of+internet+among+the+youths&btnG=