Digital technology – especially the internet – has transformed the world we live in. Globally, young people (aged 15 to 24) are the most connected. Unicef reports that nearly three-quarters of young people use the internet, compared to about half of the overall population.
The internet offers opportunities for young people to learn, socialise, find work and make their voices heard. As people interact online, barriers associated with age, gender, ethnicity, disability, wealth and status are broken down. Information and answers to questions are often easy to find, and support groups can provide help and encouragement.
However, there are some risks associated with being online. These include bullying, misuse of private information (including identity theft) and access to inappropriate or false information.
The internet may also increase social and economic divisions between those who are connected and those who are not.
Opportunities and risks
Use this poster to start discussions about the opportunities and potential challenges of internet connection. Even for people who are not yet online, these discussions will help them to know where to find trustworthy information, what to avoid and how to stay safe when they do become connected.
- What do you think are the benefits of having access to the internet? Are there any disadvantages?
- Do you think saying things online is the same as saying things face to face? Why/why not?
- What would you do if you saw something online that you did not like (eg sexual or violent content)?
- How can you make sure that strangers cannot see or use private information about you? (See www.staysafeonline.org for more information.)
- What would you do if someone you met online asked you for money or wanted to meet you?