Internet has a wide variety of information to choose from. It has many benefits to our livelihood. It is one of the major sources of information we have existing today. However, just as Sigmund Freud said that “dogs love their friends and bite their enemies,” internet also can be of much benefit to us but can on the other hand, be very disastrous. Lives have been changed a great deal by what people see in the internet. People who have been affected most are the youths. It is necessary that one gets good internet education before using the internet in order to avoid some mishaps that can have a negative influence on someone’s life. The Internet is neither a utopia, liberating people to form a global egalitarian community, nor a dystopia-producing armies of disembodied, lonely individuals. Like any form of communiation, it is as helpful or harmful as those who use it (Kartz, 2002).
Youths are the most vulnerable when it comes to effects of internet on one’s life. Most youths have the tendency of exploring new ideas without taking into consideration the effects of the ideas. This act has made youths consume a lot of dangerous stuff from the internet which in most cases impact their lives negatively. Lives have been changed for the worse due to the careless behavior of the youths when taking information from the internet. (Zittrain, 2009)
Procedure and area of Research
The research is to be carried out in a university where most of the students are well acquainted with internet usage. An impromptu visit is to be carried out in the cybercafés in the campus and just have a glimpse at the sites visited by the students. Cybercafé attendants are also to be interviewed and asked to install spyware on their computers so as to keep track of the sites frequently visited by the students. Questionnaires are also to be distributed to the students so as to get what the students have to say about the impact internet has in their lives. A set of results were obtained as shown below.
The materials available on the internet for consumption range from the good to bad.
i. Good consumption
a. Educational materials – also known as homeschooling materials. Internet is a major source of information. Many people get a lot of information from the internet. Universities have also started offering online courses over the internet. This has made many youths to benefit from such programmes.
b. Entertainment facilities: There are several entertainment sites available in the internet. The youths can easily get entertainment facilities from the internet thereby helping hem access materials which they could have otherwise not had.
ii. Bad consumption
a. Poor influence – Some morally decayed people post stuffs over the internet which can influence the youths negatively.
b. Pornographic materials – There are numerous pornographic sites in the internet. When these sites are visited by the youth, they make them act irresponsibly.
c. Drug abuse: The youths can easily get access to drugs which could be illegal. Information about the drugs is readily available from the internet.
What influences their choice of consumption?
i. Peer influence: Peer influence is one of the major contributors to what kind of information one can look for in the internet. Youth from the same peer group will tend to access similar materials from the internet. (Quigley, 2007)
ii. Exposure/lifestyle: Lack of exposure can also influence the kind of information one goes to look for from the internet. Youths in urban centres look for information that is different from that accessed by the youths from the rural areas.
iii. Academic level: Youths with different academic levels access different materials from the internet. Highly educated youths tend to focus mostly on academic materials whereas the less educated access non-academic materials.
iv. Moral values: A person’s moral value can influence what he/she will access from the internet. Morally upright youths avoid pornographic sites while those who have poor morals tend to spend much of their time on such sites. (Sissela, 1999)
v. Media (broadcasting stations): The advertisements shown in the media houses may influence someone’s quest for information from the internet.
Impacts of what is consumed.
The information that is consumed from the internet has a direct impact on the lives of people using it. There are both negative and positive impacts of information that is accessed from the internet. (Marylaine, 2003)
i. Prostitution: These have been brought about by youths visiting pornographic sites which have a lot of information on bad sexual practices.
ii. Homosexuality/ Lesbianism: There are a lot of materials available in the internet about homosexuality/Lesbianism and how it’s practiced. This has made youths try the act out thus indulging in such wayward behaviors.
iii. Social separation: Internet is addictive and an addict will spend most of his/her time in the internet. This may lead to someone being separated from others thus having a very poor social life. (Katz, 2002)
iv. Drug abuse: The names of several drugs which are abused are available in the internet. The Youths will try them out thus having a bad tendency of drug abuse.
v. Criminal behavior: There are criminal acts and materials found in the internet. Youths may get lessons from the internet on how to carry out the criminal acts.
vi. Family break-ups: Social networking sites have led to breaking up of families in several cases.
i. Education: constant access of information from the internet makes one knowledgeable.
ii. Saves money and time: Using the internet to shop and sell goods saves money and time.
iii. Improved Lifestyle: there are jobs available in the internet which can make one improve his/her living standards.
Ways in which the activities can be monitored on the internet
Censorship: Censorship and putting government regulations to control the sites being visited. (Lessig, 2006)
Prohibiting sites: Many Cyber cafes do prohibit some sites. This helps in controlling what materials are accessed in the internet. (Lessig, 2006)
Installing Spyware: Will help to keep track of all the information searched in the internet. Incase of any problem, the person who searched the information can be easily traced.
Works Cited List
Clifford G. Christians. Media Ethics: Cases and Moral Reasoning. Allyn & Bacon Publishers.
Howard Rheingold. Smart Mobs: The Next Social Revolution. Basic Book Publishers. 2003
James E Katz & Ronald Rice. Social Consequences of Internet Use: Access, Involvement, and
Interaction. The MIT Press. 2002
Jarice Hanson. 24/7: How Cell Phones and the Internet Change the way we Live, Work, and
Play. Praeger Publishers. 2007
Jonatham Zittrain. The Future of the Internet and how to stop it. Yale University Press. 2009
Lawrence Lessig. Code: And other laws of Cyberspace, Version 2.0. Basic Book Publishers
Marylaine Block. Net Effects. Information today Publishers. 2003
Richard Quigley. Roots of Positive Culture: Harry Vorrath – the man and the myth. Reclaiming Children and Youth. 2007
Sissela Bok. Lying: Moral Choice in Public and Private Life. Vintage Publishers 1999
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