Sunday, March 20, 2016

The Role of the Internet on our younger generation

Chapter -1
It goes without saying that almost everyone enjoys the invention of the Internet. I cannot but to admit that the Internet is the greatest invention in the 20th century. In fact, today our global communication is functioning based on the Internet as it transmits all kinds of information. Certainly, teenagers compose a major group of the Internet users as they research for papers, chat with friends, read e-mails, and so on. It appears to us that the Internet has become so convenient to us that we can barely live without it; however, we might want to examine its pros and cons to the younger generation.

Let’s start with the pros. May I ask a question? Is here anyone younger than 30 not using the Internet? If you raise your hand, then what are you doing right now? Obviously, we use the Internet because we need it. We need the quick access to information and knowledge. We need the convenience that the cyberspace offers. We can use email, Skype, and MSN to communicate with friends for free. Of course there are much more thing that we can do through the Internet. I’m not going to list everything because I think most of them you already know. All what we got from the Internet can be conclude in a word, convenience. And the convenience is stronger enough to surpass all the cons that I’m going to tell you put together.
One important impact of the Internet to the younger generation is that it has changed the way they communicate. Instead of hanging out with friends, teenagers had showed a trend that they would rather stay at home and chat with each other. However, it is not obviously good for health since sitting in front of their personal computer chatting throughout their free time is not the best way to release pressure. Furthermore, the Internet has become a major source of entertainment for the younger generation according to the development of flash and web-based games. Some youngsters are so addicted to it that they start perform poorly in other fields, such as academy and athletics.

What is also worth noticing is that there is no certain way that can restrict the information on the Internet. It is saying that youngsters may receive all kinds of information without the ability of judging it, though it may sometimes be beneficial. Some invisible hazards are inside the internet world. Children sometimes go to the websites that contain violent, porn, and other inappropriate information. However, so far, there has been no good method to completely restrain information before it gets to the children.
Besides, I think most of you have heard the tragic news, Emma Watson, the girl who acted as Hermione Granger in Harry Potter movie series, was reported dead at age 19. Shock, isn’t it? But it’s not true. It’s just another internet rumor, AGAIN. What is real, and what isn’t? It’s a new challenge that our younger generations are facing right now. Is it a bad thing, then? Some vote yes, but some says no. The yes people alleged that our children are too young to distinguish the true stories from the false ones, and they’ll easily get the wrong information and the wrong concept of our society. On the other hand, there’s a theory called the “New Darwin’s Law of Internet Selection”. That is, our children will learn from the true and fake news by themselves, and therefore, they will get smarter and smarter. Anyway I disagree with this law. I don’t think it’s a good idea to dump our children in the wild and learn how to survive from the beasts instead of me.
These certainly showed some cons of the Internet; however, whether it is good or bad for the younger generation still remains controversial.
Anyway, although we create the Internet, do we really dominate the Internet? Or are we actually dominated by the Internet while thinking that we dominate it. Twenty years ago, we had to go to the real store to buy what we want. On the way to the store, we might bump into a friend and had a nice chat. We might meet a hot clerk in the store. Indeed, we can save our time buying things through the Internet now, but we lose the chance to talk with people face to face. For what? What do we get? Only more time on the Internet! The Internet has lowered the temperature of our feelings. I don’t think an emotion is better than a real smile, or a real hug. If we can meet, then don’t talk on the phone. If we can talk on the phone, then do use MSN. Go out to the real world. Everything will be better. After all, we are made by flesh, not by metal.
Chapter -2

 Opinion: The Young Generation, Interactive Media and Society:
The fusion between the mass media and the modern information technologies resulted in a revolution that highlighted the enormous potential in the area of human communication , among which was the development of the World Wide Web (Internet) system. This network has expanded the style of human interaction and has opened new areas of communication that humans never before imagined. At the early stages of the development of media channels the mass media played a marginal role in the community, and therefore did not receive considerable attention. They gained importance as they developed; thus we note that the development of photography led to the development of movies, television, video and other means of storing and displaying visual information. And the development of the telegraph led to the development of telephone and gramophone, radio, and the different audio recording devices.
The Internet’s World Wide Web system began a quality revolution in mass communication capabilities and led to the development of interactive media and social networking. The new media technologies changed the pattern of media communication in that it is no longer confined to messages sent in one direction, usually from the state-owned channels or from other owners (individuals or institutions) who have the financial and technical possibilities to operate mass media channels
Theoretically, social interactive networking enables everyone to interact with it and with its audiences. However, the reality is that there are major obstacles and many caveats to such an interaction. Interactive media play different roles, positive and/or negative, that simply cannot be classified within any one of these roles
I must admit that I speak here about the interactive media and their impact on the young generation from the perspective of the generation to which I belong. I am moving into 75 years of age and cannot keep up with the young people in their hurry to accept anything new before examining it. I am not only older but I also was raised differently. My generation was raised to think analogically while the young generation is socialized digitally and expect their needs to be instantly satisfied. Hence, I cannot keep up with the speed and ease of their dealing with the modern information technologies. I also realize that they won’t accept my experience to restrict their vigor.

I cannot deny the great benefit of the social interactive media in facilitating and accelerating the process of social networking. However, I would like to focus on the impact of social media on the process of socialization among the young generation and to explore the function of these technologies as well as the role of their operators. These technologies allow different uses that vary in benefit and function thus their use need to be regulated by policies that generate from the needs of our societies and that emerge or are in harmony with our culture.
Interactive media are double-edged swords. They can raise important issues that help set the citizens’ agenda for public discussion. On the one hand they can have a positive impact on public awareness and on the other they can contribute to the erosion of social values or national achievements. One cannot overlook the negative consequences of misusing these social media by Arab youth. For example the indulgence in the social media by the youth may result in deterioration of the public sphere, which causes the young generation to neglect discussing the fundamental life issues facing their society and instead turn to unethical and marginally useless issues. Among the negative consequences of the indulgence in the social media is the weakening of the Arabic language due to the new practice of using English letters in writing Arabic.
The use of Arabic language in interactive communication is vital for providing a good national education to the youth as well as to preserve heritage for a language comprises, in addition to its vocabulary, of the views and prejudices that are embedded in the culture’s values and norms. Many linguists believe that using the mother language unconsciously leads to adopting a distinctive way of thinking and an implicit cognition.
Interactive technologies differ from the traditional means of communication in that they are harder to monitor and control by authorities, and are easier to access by the average citizen. However, we cannot ignore the fact that young people are not equal in the use of modern technologies. While access to these means does not require significant financial or professional facilities; it is influenced by many variables, including the state of language and available technical capabilities.
The statement that everyone is equal in the use of social media is imprecise. Individuals and countries vary widely in communication capabilities. Technologically advanced individuals or countries, thus, can manipulate the social media for their own benefit, and can attract youth to engage in marginal or negative matters.
Interactive technologies have liberated the communication process from many restrictions that limited the communication between individuals and groups. Controlling these interactive technologies, although difficult, is still possible, especially by states, groups or individuals who have the knowledge and the advanced equipment and technology. And here lies the danger of domination by the technologically and financially developed countries over the underdeveloped countries and the danger of having commercial institutions control the youth’s social media consumption habits. Interactive media can elevate the level of culture in a community or reduce it for they can develop certain cultural, social, and political relations as well as they can break up others. Many research findings suggest that among the possible consequences of heavy use of Facebook,  for example, may be damage of family ties and alienation. The accelerating development in information technologies resulted in a media revolution and created a new social reality that obliges officials and journalists to understand and interact with it by overhauling the current media policies and developing them to adapt to the new reality and to stimulate the role of modern media to serve a society’s developmental needs.
Interactive media users need no occupational specialization thus they are liberated from many constraints that limit the process of communication. That’s why getting out of control be-came easy, while achieving credibility and professionalism difficult. Destruction is easier than construction; thus, we witness an increase in sectarianism and ethnic disturbances.
My position here should not be interpreted as a call for censorship of interactive media. What I call for is the need to guide youth towards the production of quality and positive messages that corresponds to this generation’s reality and not be contempt with the imported foreign programs that alienate our youth. What I call for is to start producing interactive programs that fit our needs and aspirations. I call for is the rational use of interactive media and the development of policies that guide the development of local interactive media.
The substantial amounts of mental energy generated by interactive are produced or managed by transnational corporations. These corporations control media channels in the developing countries thus the flow of cultural and information messages flows from the core or the advanced nations to the peripheral (i.e., developing countries) to use Immanuel Wallerstein’s model.
This is how foreign cultures are spread among our youth and thus the media institutions operating within the present world order contribute to alienating national cultures. This is achieved through the so-called “modernization process” that turns the attention away from local issues to global ones. This process leads to the fading of traditional values and arts that give character to the local culture. Thus we observe that local and global cultures are being merged with the latter dominating.
In light of the vast development of human communication potential, the role of mass communication needs to transform in a way congruent with our national realities. This can be achieved by the development of Arab-oriented media policies. A media policy is a set of principles and rules that guide media systems in their behavior. Media policy development stems from the analysis of existing practices and identifying them as well as formulating new principles and rules to achieve desired goals.
Purpose communication aids in changing ways of thinking and behavior, so we must develop or find positive roles for youth to help them accept and promote positive change as well as contributes to the development of local vision and practical plans for social development.
Ongoing debate about the role of the Internet and social media is still in its early stages. No one can claim to have answers about the dimension of this role and the extent of its impact and effectiveness. Social interactive media are only one factor among many that influence mass popular movements. There are several other political, economic, social and cultural factors that must be taken into account.
Social media networking has created a new space for dialogue and discussion. In addition to activating the public sphere for youth, which the German sociologist Jorgen Habermas describes as “the sphere that allows civil society to discuss and criticize ongoing issues” these interactive technologies also contribute in activating what Tony Negri and Michael Hart call a civil domain that generates a new political and social nature. It can be said that interactive communication technology if well designed can help the young generation to contribute, via the Internet, in the emergence of a new consciousness that establishes new social development. Misuse of such technologies can lead to the alienation and loss of the youth.
Building a young, productive and effective generation needs special efforts to prevent reaching a situation where the state is unable to control the interactive communication technologies financially, ethically or humanistically. People in authority should set media policies that make social communication media a server of humankind and not the reverse.
Experience has demonstrated that the real difficulty is in what might be called the integration of technology with the social structure. The adoption of social communication media produces new work set of rules, a new production style and even a new content. These technologies are usually imported from countries that are culturally different and might not necessarily fit our own cultural mores or lifestyle. Therefore we should adapt the imported technologies to our needs and demands.
The call for media policies and plans does not necessarily mean central control by authorities, but a method for rational development of the various interactive media activities. Good planning opens the door for possible alternative proposals, allows flexibility, and provides opportunities for creativity. Proper planning does not reject the traditional and interactive practices because it is derived from the past. In instances when these traditional media are not congruent with future goals they can be developed to become integrated with the new communication channels and therefore become appropriate for future goals.
The problem faced by Arab youth does not lie in the freedom to access interactive media. The problem is in the lack of proper media policies to link the different means of communication in society, which has resulted in chaos in the communication sphere that enable foreign actors to control our communication. The basic problem facing the activity of Arab youth in the area of social media is the lack of positive and active involvement in community issues.
Not setting plans and policies based on public interest to interactive media has led to the transformation of our communication channels into channels with divergent identities and values, into channels of social division. What we witness today is media chaos where media neglect important life issues and concentrate on cheap entertainment and do not give sufficient attention to developing suitable environment for genuine interaction between citizens. They give more attention to introduce structural development at the expense moral and professional development.
As a result of the dominance of interactive media designed for a generation different in culture and values from that of our youth generation, our cultural exchange becomes less balanced. Thus our cultural status has declined; it has become, within the present world order, just another commodity similar to other material goods. As a result, Western values dominate our social net-working. The most serious consequence is that foreign and alien messages has become as important as our educational institutions and performs similar socializing role as the family and the school, which has contributed to intensifying our failures to build national schools as well as resulted in the disintegration of our family institution and its entering a confused modernity.
Interactive media do not operate in a vacuum but within a social reality. It must work within the context of social and moral responsibility towards its society. It is an important factor in the formation of mental cognition or awareness of a citizen’s perspective to her/his community and to the world. The content provided by these interactive channels of communication – be it cultural, recreational or other – does not necessarily lead to knowing the truth, but rather it contributes to the formation of a new “hyper reality” that leads to the alienation of our youth.
The alienation of the younger generation and its failure to play an active role in the renaissance of our nations is inevitable unless interactive media is adapted to our society and becomes a positive interactive channel as well as a motivating force to improve the condition of youth, and contribute to the development of a determined civil society that can rebuild good citizenship.
To say that “media mirrors reality and does not determine it” is imprecise. While the media derive the content of its messages from society, it plays an active role in the refinement of such content and in setting the agenda for public discourse. Arab youths have become the target of media influence while, theoretically and morally, the youth should be the focus of media attention and their concerns the main influencing factor in the selection of media messages.
To achieve constructive participation of the young generation, there is need to develop inter-active channels that are related to society and its concerns. There is need to create interactive channels that focus on the youth and that does not consider the youth as mere consumers and observers Interactive media need to be revived and developed to play a positive role in the upbringing of the younger generation by reassessing the role of interactive communication in society and by rejecting financial commercial pressures. Only then can the youth generation engage positively with interactive media that are on advanced level of social responsibility. The new global media order is the main tool of the dominant cultural order. This order is not only a technology of dictation, but it is a new method of perceiving the world and expressing it. This new perception contributes to the transmission of values that are not relevant to developing countries. UNESCO statistics indicate that the Arab TV channels import a large proportion of their programs from the West, and most local Arab programs copy those imported ones, adopting their foreign values because of the meager local human and technical capabilities in the Arab media institutions.
The hegemony of foreign cultures on our interactive channels and their content has led to the alienation of the young Arab generation rather than facilitating their participation in society. This alienation is carried out through providing a content that is not connected to the Arab cultural reality, which prompts them to revolt against their own values and lifestyle. Interactive channels can play an enormous role in distracting the youth from their local problems and turn their attention away from their real social and national problems to focus on imported foreign and superfluous ones.
The important question is: can we use the interactive channels of communication differently so that Arab youth can maintain the cultural traits of their community, as well as increase the opportunity of active participation in activities that affect their lives? This can be achieved through the realization that “cultural identity is the core essence of peoples’ identity and the engine that feeds their cultures.” Improving our cultural identity requires us to make an effort to control the progress of technology before we are in a situation where these technologies control us.
Available information suggests that there is a vast gap between what we know about problems and challenges facing Arab youth, and what we can do about them. In order to increase the potential of young people to control these problems and challenges we must recognize the eternal dilemma facing our youth in their choice between the inevitability of living within a set of communication rules and between their need for privacy and freedom, which is the basis for any creativity. The right way for the young generation to become engaged in the proper use of the Internet and its interactive technologies is to work within clear plans and policies that link various social institutions, including the interactive media, and the objectives of the society as a whole. The change or “modernization” caused by interactive communication is ultimately a social change. Adopting modern technologies does not mean that a society is modern; such adoptions without a social plan may lead to neglecting other essential developmental needs. Modernization is not achieved by adopting advanced societies’ problems, which leads to neglecting the actual problems of the society. The most important thing we are supposed to do here is to evaluate the imported interactive technologies in light of the needs of our communities, and to control the flow of programs and materials that may have a negative impact on our youth. As well, we need to pursue good quality Arab cultural and media production. In order to succeed in this quest, we must begin by enriching the basic components of media and cultural production by providing support to curricula and programs in media training centers and institutes. The fact that Interactive technologies are relatively new may not allow the easy use of Arabic language and this turns the Arab youth to foreign cultural programs and values, which leads to a misunderstanding by Arab masses of their own traditions and values. Every society has its own traditional popular channels of communication; it would be a mistake not to rely on this rich media heritage even when we take advantage of employing the modern Western channels to develop and increase the effectiveness of our traditional channels.
From the correct and critical vision can the potential for innovation and renewal can emerge. The need is for a vision that guarantees that the community gets the necessary information and allows for the management of modern technologies in a way that positive information is trans-mitted to our youth.
Development of cultural identity among the youth requires us to make the effort to develop policies that ensure the correct use of interactive media. We must, in my opinion, highlight media and cultural pollution issues the way we do with environmental ones. The Arab world has not reached an advanced stage of industrialization, which is a leading cause of environmental pollution, but it certainly has reached a very advanced stage of importing media technologies that have the greatest impact in contaminating our culture, our children and youth. 

Concept of Internet addiction:
Internet addiction, as an impulse control disorder that does not involve the use of an intoxicating drug and is very similar to pathological gambling (B. Young, 2006). It is defined as a non-chemical or behavioural addiction that involves human-machine interaction, that can be either passive, such as viewing movies or active, such as playing computer games (Widyanto & Griffiths, 2006). Moreover, Internet addiction is defined as a maladaptive use of the Internet that can lead to social and functional impairment (Solomon, 2009).

The concepts of Internet addiction can be viewed from different aspects such as according to Davis, Flett and Besser (2002) and Shapira, Goldsmith, Keck, Khosla and Mcelroy (2000) inability of individuals to control their use of the Internet, which then causes psychological, social, school, and/or work difficulties. Commenting on the Psychological point of view, Kandell (1998) argued that due to increasing tolerance to the effect of being online, increase number of investment of sources on Internet related activities, unpleasant feelings when off-line, and denial of the problematic behaviours are main reasons for dependent on the Internet.

Chapter- 4

The impact of internet on the culture of the young generation:

I think that the internet has a very bad impact on the culture. We are living in times when everybody has access to tools that allow people to create music, pictures and movies easily and then place them on internet, for anybody to see. While I find the fact of people trying to open themselves to new ideas and doing something artistic very positive, putting the effects of such work on the internet adds chaos to the "cyber world". Young people have access to all the good stuff and the bad stuff, and they have problems to tell which one is which. They get tired, and they cultural taste gets worse. The effect of that - simple culture, based on simple things. People are tired of trying to understand the serious thing and culture, so they turn to all the cultural rubbish, which is usually easy to master and attract young people who are looking for easy and not complicated lives. Another thing is that young people doesn’t have authorities, who would tell them what is good for them and what is not. They get too much information every day, and without proper "filters", and I mean the authorities interpretation, they just absorb the info, without thinking about what it mean. The same is true for all the music, art, movies and similar things that are made by amateurs and put on the net. That is what I think. I tried to put it the easiest way I could, but the whole concept is hard to put into words. What is your opinion?
Since the internet and other media have been adopted and integrated into the daily lives of an increasing number of young adolescents in Western countries, scholars and commentators are debating the impact of these new media on the activities, social relationships, and worldviews of the younger generations. Controversies about
Whether technology shapes values, attitudes, and patterns of social behavior are not new. In the recent past, the rapid expansion of television stimulated similar discussions of its cultural and social effects. In this essay, I will briefly describe the sources of the debate and its specific arguments regarding the role of the internet in youth life. Then, I will describe some important trends in youth activities, attitudes, and behaviors. The literature on the internet and youth culture presents different views regarding the role of technology in society. Two major perspectives are technological determinism and the social construction of technologies.

Technological Determinism:
The technological deterministic view presents the internet as an innovative force that has profound influence on children and youth; technology generates new patterns of expression, communication, and motivation. In this view, various terms have been used to describe this generation of youth, including “Net-generation,” the “millennium generation,” and “digital natives.” 1 These labels attempt to identify a large group of young adolescents who grew up during the expansion of the internet and from early childhood have been immersed in a media-rich environment, using computers, playing online games, constantly communicating and connecting with their friends by electronic devices.
These youth create and use digital spaces for social interaction, identity expression, and media production and consumption.
Supporting this perspective, scholars of media consumption have
described adolescents’ lives as being characterized by media privatization in a multimedia environment.­
In Western societies, young people’s cultural consumption includes a large number of media artifacts such as television sets, VCRs, landline and cell phones, video games, compact disc players, MP3 players, and computers. Over time, households tend to acquire more than one media item. Adolescents appropriate the media, and more and more media tools move from the public spaces of the household to private places, from the living room to the bedrooms, accumulating in the teenager’s room. Youth are described as having created a bedroom culture that facilitates their media consumption without parental supervision or limitation.
Acting in a media-rich environment and a bedroom culture, the Net-generation or digital natives express different values, attitudes, and behaviors than previous generations. These digital natives are described as optimistic, team-oriented achievers who are talented with technology. Immersion in this technology-rich culture influences the skills and interests of teens in important ways. According to this view, they think and process information differently from their predecessors, are active in experimentation, are dependent on information technologies for searching for information and communicating with others, and are eager to acquire skills needed to develop creative multimedia presentations and to become multimedia producers and not merely consumers.
Simply put, the argument is that the internet has created a new generation of young people who possess sophisticated knowledge and skills with information technologies, express values that support learning by experience and the creation of a culture in a digital space, and have particular learning and social preferences.
The notion of a Net-generation is consistent with a deterministic view of the effect of technology on society. Technological determinism views technology as an independent force that drives social change.4 Technology itself exercises causal influence on social practices, and technological change induces changes in social organization and culture regardless of the social desirability of the change.  

Chapter- 5


For youth, the Internet presents a number of risks along with a multitude of opportunities. The research reviewed suggests that some of the online risks facing youth are addiction, exposure to inappropriate material, cyber bullying and sexual solicitation. Research is only now beginning to determine which youth may be at most risk for online addiction. With regard to treating addiction, cognitively based treatment approaches have shown some success, but more research is needed. Research also suggests that some youth may be more likely to be victims of online harassment and sexual solicitation, suggesting that intervention efforts should target high-risk youth as well as risky online behaviors.
Despite these risks, the research also suggests that the Internet can be beneficial for youth. It provides a vehicle to promote cognitive, social, and physical development. Although there are limits to which the Internet can be used as a means of learning, health promotion, and intervention delivery, nonetheless the Internet can be used to complement more traditional methods of delivering treatment interventions. Overall, research suggests that specific and targeted efforts may be needed to counter online risks in order for youth to benefit from the many opportunities offered by the Internet.


Post a Comment