Internet Risks and Our Response
As our society becomes more urban, and life becomes hectic and busy for both parents and youth, the youths face more issues of modernity than before. Alienation, loneliness, depression become more prevalent. Many youths also have access to the internet. With the ready availability of broadband, and generally an improvement in the telecommunications industry, especially in the urban areas (partly due to the government's push to attract investments and business for MSC), internet risks which were once more prevalent in the West or the more technologically advanced nations are upon our youths in Malaysia. 1
The advent of the World Wide Web has created a huge bank of information. However since it is uncensored and un-moderated, anyone can post any kind of information and resources on the internet. Pornography has become the curse of this information age.
Other than e-mails, internet chats, instant messaging, the youths are now into participating in social networks like "Friendster" and into on-line journaling on "Web-logs", more popularly known as "Blogs". It is also not unusual for them to use "on-line dating" services. Spaming, web-bullying, web-scandals, hacking and cyber myths have become very real threats as a result of unchecked use of internet communication tools.
There are also many new kinds of newsgroups, clubs, bulletin boards which are started on the web where people exchange information. In addition, there are many peer-to-peer platforms for exchange of files and information that can by-pass the internet but are still very much part of the lifestyle of info-savvy youths (e.g. in hostels, colleges and universities). These peer-to-peer networks can become breeding grounds for insidious information as well as pornography
Computer games have evolved greatly from DOS based games to animated games to what is now known as Role Playing Games. With the availability of broadbands, Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPG) are the latest craze. With such games, you can play with all kinds of people, all over the world, irrespective of national or geographical boundaries and time-zones.
e)Telecommunications Industry Convergence
With miniaturization and the advent of integrated telecommunications device (mini-computer and telephone), both the benefits of the internet as well as the risks have become even more mobile and more immediate.
Pornography exposure and addiction
b)Chats, Instant Messaging
risks of kidnapping and
c)Chats, Instant Messaging, Games
Isolation and alienation,
lack of self confidence, have low self esteem,
lack social skills,
inability to relate healthily
social and psychological handicap results
Most common popular games are dark, cultic, satanic, selfish, sensual and violent. Addiction to lust, violence, occult and game culture,
lack of healthy real-world development,
distorted outlook of the real world.
e)Overall the risks are intertwined and there are real possibilities of youths going deeper and deeper and getting totally lost in the virtual world.
a)Computer mediate communication
i)Reasons why youths like this medium
(1)Anonymity - greater degree of acceptance, looks and background not obvious (2)Limited engagement - can walk away, make excuses; have control over personal space (3)More choices - check out before commitment to friendships / dating relationships (4)Communication handicaps not a limitation - stammering, stuttering not a problem on the net
ii)Reasons against this medium
(1)Honesty and transparency necessary
(2)Friendship is about trusting and sharing
(3)Commitment is needed for relationships
(4)Need to develop REAL communication skills for the real world!...
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