The Internet and its impacts on the youth’s lives
The Internet has emerged as the greatest breakthrough in information technology. Its borderless connection among people and organizations all over the world makes it unarguably indispensable in the modern world. The youth are the most remarkable beneficiaries of the Internet because they were born in the technology-based world and have continuously learned to adapt their everyday lives to it; however, they are strongly influenced by the online environment as their lives are getting more and more dependent on the Internet. Although the Internet is regarded as an essential and efficient medium of communication and socialization, excessive Internet use adversely affects young adults’ social and personal lives. After graduating from high schools, most of young people have more freedom not only in their real life but also in their virtual life on the Internet. Contrary to the benefits of useful information via the World Wide Web, young adults may expose themselves to harmful content that affects their shaping of personality and their perception of the world. This problem was revealed in the report Harmful Content on the Internet and in Video Games by the Culture, Media and Sport Committee, which was appointed by the House of Commons in London: Anyone who regularly watches television or reads the press is likely to have become aware of growing public concern in recent months at the Internet’s dark side: the easy availability of hardcore pornography, which people may find offensive, the uploading by ordinary people of film of real fights, bullying or alleged rape, or the setting up of websites encouraging others to follow extreme diets, or self-harm, or even commit suicide. (7) Besides content that exhibits extreme pornography or violence, the Internet also threatens young adults with drug-related activities, as the Information Bulletin published by National Drug Intelligence Center has pointed to this danger: Drug-related activity is widespread on the Internet, and even the novice user has easy access to all the information needed to produce, cultivate, purchase, sell, or use any illegal drug, even relatively obscure ones. Many of the users participating in these drug-related activities are adolescents and young adults. Individuals who use illegal drugs or are contemplating their use can readily access information about them on Internet sites, including explanations of drug terminology and methods of use. Many of these sites popularize and glamorize drug use, and others implicitly promote use and experimentation. Drug distributors and customers utilize Internet sites to post and discuss drug prices. They also use Internet bulletin boards and chat rooms to arrange the sale of drugs or chemicals, which are then shipped to the customer for an agreed price. (1) Furthermore, in the early stages of their adult lives, the young are no longer closely monitored by adults when sitting in front of the computers. Since neither the amounts of time they go online nor the websites they want to visit are limited, those young adults are more likely to become Internet addicted. A study published by the American Psychological Association acknowledges, “It has also been suggested that some adolescents become so involved with certain applications of the Internet that they are no longer capable of controlling their online activity, implying that these youngsters have developed symptoms of compulsive Internet use “, and this alarming condition leads to “potential harmful effects on the psychosocial well-being of youngsters … such as, for instance, loss of control, withdrawal symptoms, preoccupation, intra- and interpersonal conflict, and coping” (Engels et al. 655). As their lives are becoming more and more lacking in face-to-face communication and real social interaction, many heavy users of the Internet have problems with communicating with their family and friends, as well as self-expressing...
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