The Internet and Youths
Sociological research question: What are the effects of the internet on youths?
Recent years have seen a continued increase in the use of internet and related technologies, which to a considerable extent; have had a significant impact on human social life. With the inception of the internet, there has been intensive and increased online communication among people through social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and others. Moreover, the introduction of internet technology has enabled the access to information and other content such as movies and songs on digital platforms such as YouTube. The focus on the effects of the internet on youths is of relevance because there has been an increased involvement of youths in irresponsible and unacceptable social behaviors, and this can be attributed to the advent of internet technology. Having been established only a few years ago, the internet has attracted global attention and is considered a system of enormous social and technical complexity. There is no doubt that the internet comprises of a universe that despite being gigantic, is almost invisible, and includes millions of computers, networks, and is used and accessed by billions of people worldwide. Among youths, access to the internet has grown significantly, especially in the Western world. Research indicates that more than 80 percent of youths between the ages of 12 and 17 in America only, use and remain logged onto internet daily, and this has been influenced by the social structures and cultures where parents push their children to use modern technology, primarily internet (Guan and Kaveri 352). The little research conducted on internet use shows that the internet plays an integral role regarding socialization, information access, shopping, entertainment, information access, and communication, all of which have increased dramatically over the years. Research further indicates that youths prefer using the internet to other technology such as television, radio, and telephone. The fact that so many youths are spending most of their time on the internet raises more questions than answers on the adverse impacts of the same on their lives. Based on these perspectives, this paper’s main argument is on the effects of the internet on youths.
With this research focusing on the effects of the internet on youths, some of the research questions to guide the study include:
- Is it true that the use of the internet by youths decreases the time they spend interacting with their families and friends?
- Has increased and continuous use of the internet by youths reduced their face-to-face interaction with friends and families?
- Do youths find communication through the internet more appealing to youths than face-to-face communication? If so, what impact does this have on face-to-face communication and social interactions?
- In contemporary society, do youths use the internet to access important information and content or is their focus when accessing the same is on unacceptable and dirty content?
Presentation and analysis of findings
People cannot deny the vital role played by the Internet in everyday life. This is because people of all ages and backgrounds find the technology crucial to accessing information, everyday communication through social media platforms, entertainment, and caring for financial matters. Youths cannot be left behind when it comes to the use of the internet, and this is highlighted by the fact that a large percentage of youths globally have access to the same at home, school, and other contexts (Guan and Kaveri 354).
Based on the research questions, one of the research findings is that the use of the internet by youths reduces the amount of time they spend engaging in face-to-face communication with either friends or family members. Today, it cannot be doubted that youths have fast embraced internet technology and their enthusiasm and interest on the same have seen them shift allegiance to online communication and interaction from physical interaction and face-to-face communication. The advent of the internet has created platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and others for youths to interact with people across gender and race without having to meet with them physically (Gapsiso and Joseph 216). Of course, the fact that youths spend most of their time browsing the internet has limited the time they spend with friends and families, a perspective that has further jeopardized physical interaction and one-on-one communication between them and friends or family members.
Other than the reduction of time spent by youths interacting with friends and family members, the use of the internet has adversely affected face-to-face interaction in contemporary society. Most people deny the argument that face-to-face interactions are on the decline and that the advent of the Internet and other technologies have had minimal impact on the same. However, with a key focus on youths, who make up a significant percentage of the global population, it is realized that their continuous use of the internet has seen them give preference to online communication through emails, Whatsapp, Facebook, and Twitter. Youths have become more dependent on the internet than before, and the mention of physical or one-on-one interactions with friends or family members is a turn-off for them. The argument is that interaction through internet platforms is less costly whereas face-to-face interactions could involve the movement of people from one place to another, which is expensive in the long run (Gapsiso and Joseph 217).
Moreover, it can be realized that youths today find communication through the internet more appealing than other forms or methods of communication, especially face-to-face communication. One of the reasons why communication through the internet is appealing to youths is that it brings them much closer to friends, helps them to make new friends frequently, and gives them the opportunity to interact with people of other races in countries far away. In other words, most youths argue that the internet gives them a limitless access to the world while still helping them maintain their privacy.
Despite the positive impacts of the internet on youths, especially when it comes to communication and interaction, the fact that youths use the internet to access unacceptable or dirty content cannot be ignored. Today, instead of using the internet to access vital information and communicate, a significant percentage of youths use the internet to access pornographic sites (Gapsiso and Joseph 217). In the same vein, youths use the internet as a channel to upload and share their nude photos. An adverse impact of this is that youths may find themselves prey for online sexual predators once they upload their nude photos or discuss sex through online platforms with people they do not know.
The increased use of the internet in recent years has had both positive and negative impacts, especially on youths. From the positive viewpoint, the internet, through platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and others, has increased online communication. Besides, youths have unlimited access to information through the internet, and this is crucial to the enhancement of their knowledge on various perspectives. However, the internet has also adversely impacted youths in that it has reduced the amount of time they spend on physical and one-on-one communication and interaction and that it has paved the way for them to access pornographic content.
Gapsiso, Nuhu Diraso, and Joseph Wilson. “The Impact of the Internet on Teenagers’ Face-to-Face Communication.” Journal of Studies in Social Sciences 13.2 (2015).
Guan, Shu-Sha Angie, and Kaveri Subrahmanyam. “Youth Internet use: risks and opportunities.” Current opinion in Psychiatry 22.4 (2009): 351-356.