Internet: Friend or Foe

This is the transcript of my presentation at the Celebrate Family Seminar of the Greenhills Christian Fellowship on June 27, 2009.You can download the presentation by clicking here.The emergence of the Internet is one of the most amazing things that happened in the twentieth century. It revolutionized the way we handle and access information.Simply put, the Internet is a network of networks, a massive interconnection of computers all over the world. It is different from the World Wide Web, which is a wide collection of interconnected documents, hypertext and hyperlinks. The Web is but one of the communication services being provided in the Internet.Features of the InternetEmailWorld Wide WebRemote AccessOnline collaborationFile sharingStreaming mediaVoice over Internet ProtocolMedia, the Internet and the Filipino YouthThe McCann-Erickson Study (cited in Philippine Commission on Population, 2003) confirmed that media is indeed becoming the guide of young people in determining what is right and what is wrong. The priorities and the things considered by youth as important are heavily influenced by media. This is supported by the findings of the Young Adults Fertility and Sexuality Survey III in 2003.Different forms of media are highly accessible to Filipino youth.TV viewing is very high among young people—they can spend up to 14 hours daily in watching TV shows.The Internet is being used more in urban areas and by students. Unfortunately, only about 6% of young people are using the Internet and most of them are found in the urban areas. This creates a kind of technological divide among the youth. In 2002, only about one in every five youth used Internet for various reasons. In the Metro Manila area, 15% of youth use the Internet.Notably, around 55% of young people have been exposed to pornographic materials through the media they have been exposed to.According to Janette Toral of DigitalFilipino.com, in 2007, the main reasons why young Filipinos (25 years old and below) use the Internet are research, social networking and gaming.Research is still the number one reason for surfing the Web. This is followed closely by social networking and gaming. Although a number of the respondents already have computers and internet access at home, 57% of them still prefer to go to Internet cafes.On the average, a Filipino youth spends P350 per month for Internet access. Seventy-five (75) percent of the respondents of the study are online gamers. Depending on the extent of their addiction to online gaming, they may spend anywhere between 2 to 12 hours a day in an internet café just playing video games. But the average number of hours spent is 12 hours per week.Top Websites for Filipino Youth in 2007FriendsterYahoo MessengerYahoomailGoogleYoutubeWikipediaMSN Messenger

The Internet as a Friend

Research ToolEasy means of accessing information, research materials, news and updates.You can learn lots of things online—math, English, foreign language, programming, web design and a whole lot more. Google Scholar, Questia, Google Books, etc.CommunicationEmail – it lets you communicate with your boss, family and the guy at the other side of the planet before you can say snail mail.Instant messaging with video chat – let’s you put your friend inside the LCD screen.Video and audio livestreaming – Broadcast your own video and audio.Online social networking: Friendster, Facebook, Multiply, Twitter, Plurk, etc.New research about online and offline friends shows that most teens use the Internet to interact with people they already know rather than strangers who might turn out to be predators.The 2008 study by University of California researchers asked 251 teens about their face-to-face friends and those they communicate with via social networking and instant messaging.Working at homeMaking money onlineRemote accessMobile accessConnection and CommunicationIntercultural communicationShrinking time and geographiesConnecting families worldwide (especially with the OFW phenomenon)Providing a means for advocacy groups to promote their causeInternet and the Web as a facilitator of culture (youth culture)Helps foster the emergence of a global youth cultureTrading stories between and among youth groups all over the world.According to the UN World Youth Report 2003,

“Two major assumptions underlie the role of ICT: the first is that the proliferation of these technologies is causing rapid transformations in all areas of life; the second is that ICT function to unify and standardize culture. It is on the basis of these assumptions that the term “media culture”, incorporating the phenomena of informationalism and globalization, is used in the present chapter.”

The Internet as a Foe: Destructive online habits

Research ToolsPlagiarism and content stealing. The bane of Copy and Paste.Quick-fix solutions and hurried child syndromeInformation overloadMultitasking and the shortening attention span.CommunicationClick, click, click.Texting, chatting, emailing even when speaking with someone.Interpersonal face-to-face communication undermined.Proliferation of porn and scandals. Cameras, webcam, etc.Exploring sexuality online (sex chat, SEB, adult membership sites)Sexual exploitation, mail-order bridesWork at home and officeTime-wastersCounter-productivityInternet (and video game) addictionThe online/offline friendship disconnectionInvasion of privacy (via Facebook). A number of people have cancelled their FB account because they are not comfortable displaying their private lives online.How to check if you are an internet addict: Click hereInternet Addiction DisorderInternet addiction disorder, Internet overuse, problematic computer use or pathological computer use. Excessive use of computers that adversely affects one’s daily life.It used to be a satirical term by Dr. Ivan Goldberg in 1995. It is now being considered as a psychological disorder. Symptoms: excessive viewing of pornography, excessive gaming, obsession with blogging and social networking, addition to internet shopping.Symptoms of Internet Addiction:He or she is preoccupied with the Internet (thinks about previous online activity or is anticipating the next online session).He or she needs to spend longer and longer periods of time online in order to feel satisfied.He or she has made unsuccessful efforts to control, cut back, or stop Internet use.He or she is restless, moody, depressed, or irritable when attempting to cut down or stop Internet use.He or she repeatedly stays online longer than he or she originally intended.He or she has jeopardized or risked the loss of a significant relationship, job, educational or career opportunity because of Internet use.He or she has lied to family members, a therapist, or others to conceal the extent of involvement with the Internet.He or she uses the Internet as a way of escaping from problems or of relieving an unpleasant mood (such as feelings of helplessness, guilt, anxiety, or depression).Symptoms of Internet Addiction1. Using online services everyday without any skipping.2. Losing track of time after making a connection.3. Going out less and less.4. Spending less and less time on meals at home or at work, and eating in front of the monitor.5. Denying spending too much time on the Net.6. Others complaining of your spending too much time in front of the monitor.7. Checking on your mailbox too many times a day.8. Thinking you have the greatest website in the world and dying to give people your URL.9. Logging onto the Net while already busy at work.10. Sneaking online when spouse or family members are not at home, with a sense of relief.Impact on youthEmo extreme!Ragna cum laude, Suma sampung taonInability to focus on studies and good activities,Eyebags, etc.anti-social tendenciesirresponsible spendingand in worst case scenarios, suicideCultivating Good Habits in Using the Internet and the Web– The battlefield is the mind.- Put Christ as the center of one’s life and seeking after His pleasure.- Cultivating focus and discipline in using the Internet.- Create a daily personal schedule and stick to it.- Ask friends for help to keep you in your schedule.- Control your spending and your allowance. Save money instead of splurging on net use.Treatment of Internet Addiction• Practice The Opposite• External Stoppers• Setting Goals• Abstinence• Reminder Cards• Personal Inventory• Support Groups• Family TherapyGood networking tips online.- Spend more time on “real – life” relationships- Choose your friends carefully.- When at work, work! When in school- Beware of Cyber-bullies- Exercise! Keep off the couch.Install content control software if you cannot control yourself. Check out K9 Web Protection.But you can also do it manually. (from Labnol)Step 1: Click the Start button and select Run. Now type the following text in that Run box:notepad c:WINDOWSsystem32driversetchosts Step 2: You will see a new notepad window on your screen containing some cryptic information. Don’t panic. Just goto the last line of the file, hit the enter key and type the following:127.0.0.1 orkut.com127.0.0.1 facebook.com127.0.0.1 myspace.comSave the file and exit. That’s it. None of the above sites will now open on your computer.You can block as many websites as you like with the above technique. If you want to remove the ban later, open the same file as mentioned in Step 1 and delete the above lines.Do something productive online.Learn how to make money online.Create a blog and be creative. Unleash your creativity online. Be a creator and not just a consumer of information.

4 Comments

  1. the power of internet depends on the user…internet is here to stay ..the problems and blessings it brought is inevitableresponsibility and dicipline must inculcate in every person’s mind

  2. @Excessive use of computers that adversely affects one’s daily life.I would say that it is dayli life that induces use of the net in the most of cases.Do you agree?

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