Multi-dimensional Challenges Facing Digital Youth and their Consequences

Multi-dimensional Challenges Facing Digital Youth and their Consequences

The Internet continues to be a dynamic and incredibly powerful source of information with almost limitless capabilities for improving access to knowledge and connecting people around the world. It is also seen as a solution to addressing many social development issues by providing access to healthcare, remote learning opportunities, access to e-government services and innovative and higher paying jobs.

With advancements in ICTs resulting in the transformation of the technological, economic, social, political, cultural, and educational realms, the world is fast becoming the proverbial ‘global village’. The children and youth who are the major beneficiaries of this technology boom, who are the subject of this paper, are referred to as ‘young digital citizens’. The emergence and widespread adoption of ICTs has greatly influenced the lifestyles of these young digital citizens, given the plethora of information on the Internet to which they have access.

While the cyber world acts as a great resource on one side, it also has a sinister aspect, to which vulnerable and trusting digital youth can be subjected, both intentionally and unintentionally. The impact of the Internet can be extrapolated into four main aspects, namely: social, physical, psychological and moral (including ethical and religious). It is the aim of this paper to discuss the impact of these potential threats and the challenge they present to society and governments in creating a safe and secure environment.

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