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Making Connections: Young People and the Internet

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It is evidently clear from the discussion that the prolific transformation of the Internet into a commercial model and consumer orientated medium has further created gaps in the youth culture and the contemporary construction of youth culture in terms of how young people utilize online information streams and web-based services.     However, the literature review reveals that the central focus when considering the impact of the internet particularly on youth has focused on threats such as cyberbullying, crime, and pedophilia, with little attention being given to online game playing, entertainment, and shopping.

It is submitted that these trends shape youth culture, which in turn impacts changes in socio-cultural trends and social behavior. Moreover, research from as early as 1998 indicates that this aspect of the Internet is the central role in the constructions of contemporary youth culture. Bennett and Harris further posit that the role and impact of technology on youth culture has created polarised theories such as postmodernism on the one hand to the cultural studies approach on the other. The post modern rationale opines that youth is shaped by cultural norms.

This, in turn, shapes the concept of “ age identity” and in context of the Internet model and therefore youth starts earlier now as a result of the commercialization of popular culture young people, who are introduced to adult consumption and adult issues much earlier in their lives. Bennett & Harris further comment that contemporary perspectives on consumption form an important concept in post-modern thought, which directly correlates with the post modern explanation for the impact of the internet medium on youth culture. Some commentators argue that people do not construct their identity according to their social class and but through consumer tastes and as such this directly acknowledge the influence that new media has on how young people construct their identity.

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