Is endless browsing really the way to go for our youth?

The City of Johannesburg (COJ) has made it their mission to equip over 1000 public areas with free Wifi across the city.

Selected Rea-Vaya bus stations, community centres, schools, clinics, government buildings and libraries are all the facilities that benefited from the project.

The initiative was implemented to provide the community with access to information, this meant that everyone including scholars had the opportunity to access the internet to help them with research projects and educational programs in which they do not have access to at home.

The free Wifi hotspot provides each user with 300MB of data per day, this is equivalent to 9GB of free data per month.

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Whilst many make us of the free Wifi for research, job hunting, and social media platforms, there are others who are abusing the system.

The local libraries that have benefitted from the initiative are the Bosmont library, Coronationville library, Riverlea library and the Westbury Library. Locals have made it known that they are have been able to use more than 300MB per day.

A local librarian had said that most people no longer come to the library to read books, it’s all about the Wifi, he added that he does not have a problem with people using the Wifi but it puts extra strain on him as noise levels go up in the library due to people watching movies and devices going off.

The library area is very much occupied with the youth sitting in and around the premises to gain access to the free Wifi. “I have no right to chase them away,” said the librarian. The Wifi has no restriction on websites and the librarian said that the users can even enter porn websites.

The focus of reading books has totally shifted to endless browsing of information available for all to see. If porn is what the youth are watching then this brings on greater problems for the youth of the community, other than unemployment.

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“The younger the person is when exposed to porn, the more psychological damage is possible. The idea is formed that sex is random and at the pleasure of the male.

“Women are often portrayed as willing sex objects without any feelings or say over their bodies. ‘Our thoughts become our actions, our actions become our behaviour’.

“One can argue whether porn is a good or bad thing, however it exists and how one deals with this issue, makes a difference,” said Cathleen Jones, a local social worker.

The internet does help to gain access to information that the library books do not have but the question stands; ‘are the youth abusing the system?’

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  AUTHOR
Janice Beckett

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