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Internet and future of our youths, a growing concern

By Efosa Roseline-Mbonu

For a certainty, we cannot rule out the profound effect of modern technology on global civilization.

At the same time, we cannot undermine the harmful effect it is having on the lives of youths.

The Science News Magazine affirms that “the internet provides an unprecedented number and variety of meeting places ranging from messaging boards to an instant messaging to so called social net-working sites”.

A staggering number of youth between the ages of 12 -18 years are addicted to the use of internet. They are actually wondering along in the on-line neighbourhood, networking and forming social alliances with people whose identity, family background, social standard and religious status you would be ashamed of if you ever had the chance to meet them.

But your child is inviting them home through the GSM mid-night cool talk and the internet, on daily basis. Can you imagine the dangers your child could be exposed to by fraternizing with an unscrupulous, faceless monsters?

Parents need to be wary, cautious and ready to assist their children to achieve their legitimate needs from the use of modern electronic gadgets towards a fulfilled and rewarding life goals, instead of a destructive end.
The super-structural view that the standard of education in Nigeria has fallen drastically provides a superficial excuse for the children to be unserious.

The fact that poor funding, lack of infrastructural facilities, insufficient teaching and learning materials, lack of qualified teachers and poorly motivated work force plagues the Nigerian educational system is no longer hot news.

I’m glad even the Head of State President Umar Musa Yar’dua is quite sensitive to this issue as noted by his comments on one of the national news dailies of May 7, 2009, that “the major problems and challenges facing the education sector in Nigeria is mainly the inadequate funds”

Mr President was saying this at the opening of the 12th Association of African Universities (AAU) five day General conference in Abuja.

My argument remains that even when all variables are put in place, there may be no significant difference on the child’s academic performance as long as they stay glued to the internet.

Research shows that teenagers spend close to 4 – 5 hours roaming the net daily, aside from other leisure activities. Going by a 4 hour daily statistics, a youth spends an average of 28 hours a week, 112 hours a month, 1,344 hours a year! 1344 minus 24 = 56 days a year. 365 days minus 56, you are left with 309 days a year. That is to say the child spends 1 month 26 days of his life roaming the street with strangers and getting tutored by unknown people!

While not condemning the practical usefulness of the internet if applied effectively, potential abuses of the online social net work include
•   cost implication: Children waste lots of money on mid night browsing
•    communication gap: Parents are completely locked out of their children’s universe as they keep friends online with faceless people,
•   Time consuming: They become completely deaf to wise use of time as a greater man hour is spent on the net
•   Impersonation: The web page persona provides opportunity for hidden identity, where children get lured to divulge vital/confidential information about their parents and home. It also helps to deaden their conscience, because they can pretend to be who they are not and get away with it.
•Mrs Mbonu is the co-ordinator Space Impact Foundation

Mrs Mbonu is the co-ordinator Space Impact Foundation


Disclaimer

Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.