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Friday, 30 August 2013 16:25

Growing up online Featured

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Growing up Online

1. The internet has changed social institutions especially youth relationships greatly by changing how youths relate and behave.  The internet plays an essential role in defining the youth culture.  Youth culture refers to the collective ways of living of youths. It refers to the norms, practices and values recognized and shared by members of the youth society.  Youths have different values, norms and practices that they consider right and hence guide their behaviors.  The internet has differentiated youths from older generations as they have different values, norms and practices from other people. Youths no longer value privacy like their parents or older generations and value public private life.  The internet enables youths to interact with their friends through social networking sites (Frontline 2013).

Youngsters have created a public private life online as their friends are able to access their private lives.  The internet has changed the mode of communication among youths as they have a private space while at home. They communicate with their friends and have their whole social life outside the purview of their parents. In addition, the internet has led to the creation of a virtual persona as youths explore aspects of the self not explored. They have the chance to express their inner selves online. They use the relative anonymity of the internet to change their identity.  The internet has affected the mainstream, culture differently.  The American main stream culture refers to beliefs, values and behaviors that have been part of Americans since 1600s and have been accepted and maintained by most citizens.  The internet has altered the American mainstream culture by changing the beliefs, values and behaviors accepted and maintained by most Americans for the past decades. The internet has led to the introduction of new values, beliefs and   changed how Americans behave. They have led to the development of subcultures with different values, beliefs and behaviors (Ferrante 2010).

 2. User generated media has become popular in various countries for the past decades.User generated media like YouTube, MySpace and Wikipedia have become common and impact the society differently. User generated media plays a vital function in defining culture than non user generated media ( Guosong Shao 2009).  People use user generated media for different purposes. People consume the content of user generated media in order to fulfill their entertainment, mood management and information needs.  People use user generated media to download videos and other entertainment material. People participate via interacting with the content and with other people using the content. This enables them to enhance their social connections and virtual communities. People using user generated media produce their own content for self actualization and expression. Therefore, user generated media influences the values, norms and beliefs in the society and creates subs cultures. People beliefs, values and norms change as they continue to consume the user generated media content. People consume video content from YouTube, and this influences their beliefs, values and norms and thus changes culture. Also, they consume content from MySpace and Wikipedia and hence influence their culture. The user generated media has change users from passive to active users.  The users are not receivers of the content, but also producers and story tellers.  People use YouTube, facebook, MySpace and other media to receive and produce content. It has also enabled interactive consumption of the content. In non user generated content people are only receivers, and they cannot produce the content and interact with the media (Frontline 2013).

 3. The internet has created the biggest generational gap since the introduction of rock n roll.  The internet has created a gap between the youngsters and older generations.  The internet has led to the development of a virtual society where most youngsters grow up. A large percentage of adolescents in America are online according to Frontline. 90% of the teens in the US are online. Most parents and teachers are not aware of the virtual society.   Members of the older generation have not grown up in areas where the social web is   the main method of communication at a young age.   The internet forms 20% of the media consumption. The media consumption through the internet is higher due to the increase in demographic of digital youth. Most college graduates consume the media content through the internet.  Youth relationships have also changed over the years due to the internet growth.  The internet has created a generation gap between youngsters and old generations in terms of relationships.  Youngsters interact with their friends online and do not have privacy as their information is available to all people. Members of older generations have valued privacy. Therefore, the internet will continue to create a generational gap as more youths continue to use the internet than members of the old generation. Most members of the old generations do not use the internet to access content and consume the media content. However, youngsters consume media content through the internet, but not print media (Frontline 2013).

 There is a difference between younger Americans and older Americans in terms of internet use as a social issue. Older Americans see the internet use as a social issue as it has led to online predators, cyber bullying among others. Teachers and parents have focused on keeping children safe online because of online predators. However, many children think that online predators are not an issue and the teachers and parent’s fears are misplaced. Children claim that parents do not understand they have used the internet from a young age and are aware of what to avoid. Some older Americans such as internet experts agree with children. The experts claim online sexual predators are not the major issue, but the trouble children get into when using the internet. Children use the internet to share information about dieting and relationships, and this influences their lives (Frontline 2013).

 4. Digital divide or unequal access to media and technology is a serious problem among youngsters and older people. Youngsters and older people find it hard to access the media and technology due to cost.  High cost of the media and technology has created a digital divide as many people do not afford the technology and media. For instance, many people cannot afford a cell phone and the internet access.   The cost of using the media and technology at home has increased and hindered youngsters and parents from using. Digital divide is a common problem in rich and poor countries as only few people in such countries can afford technology and media. For example, digital divide is evidenced in the United States as low class people cannot afford technology and media irrespective of their age (Frontline 2013).

 1.Ethnocentrism refers to the tendency to see one’s culture superior to other cultures. In this case, people use their own cultural values to judge behaviors and beliefs of people from other cultures.  On the other hand, cultural relativism refers to a position that behaviors in another culture should not be judged using standards of another culture. In this case, the values and standards of culture differ and should be respected.  The importance of different cultural ideas differs from one society to the other. Therefore, the ethical standards depend on what the society or culture considers good or bad (Ferrante 2010).

 The arrest of the two brothers and charging them with statutory rape is ethnocentric as the teachers used the American values and standards to judge the brothers. Marrying   a young girl in Iraq is legal as the two brothers wedded legally in Iraq before moving to the US. However, marrying girls aged 14 and 16 in the US is considered illegal as girls aged 14 and 16 are still schooling.   The teachers considered marrying the girls at a tender age child abuse and did not understand the difference between US and Iraq cultural values and standards. Hence, the teachers did not respect the values and standards of the Iraq’s culture (Ferrante 2010).

 2. The English only policy is ethnocentric as the states do not consider language diversity and cultural differences. Making government sponsored activities to be carried out in English will affect other languages and speakers of those languages not conversant with English. Making all court proceedings, school classes and licensing examination to be conducted in English will affect immigrants. This is because the English policy makes it hard for a person to work with a translator in courts, schools and when doing licensing examination. This will hinder non English speakers from accessing essential services such as justice, education and government information.  Non English speaking people will access government documents such as census, tax forms and discrimination grievance forms in English. This will prevent them from accessing vital services in case of discrimination. The English policy considers English to be superior to other languages.  The policy does not take into account cultural differences (Ferrante 2010).


  Frontline.Growing up online.2013. Retrieved from  on 21/1/2013

  Ferrante, J. Seeing Sociology.  2010. Cengage Learning, p49 79, 78

 Guosong Shao.  Understanding the appeal of user-generated media. Internet Research. 2009. 19 (1):7 – 25


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