MANILA – Older Filipinos may tend to look down on the digital-savvy Internet generation for being too engrossed in technology and missing out on life’s simple pleasures.
There are those who even threaten to quit Facebook, thinking that the Internet is nothing but a distraction from the so-called real world. But did you know that despite its perceived flaws, the Internet has played a huge role in uniting the Filipino youth?
Various studies and surveys conducted in the country over the years have highlighted the benefits of technologies such as the Internet on the younger generation of Filipinos, from stronger long-distance ties to enhanced self-expression and creativity.
Still not convinced? Here’s a closer look at the six ways that moderate Internet use has improved ties among young Filipinos:
1. Faster communication
Thanks to the Internet, there is no need to go home late or queue up at the payphone to hang out with your friends after school. In fact, you can even bond with them while doing your homework in your room. With faster data transfer among users, the Internet has made communication among young Filipinos much easier. Research showed that the Internet has become a platform to meet new friends and develop romantic relationships, for Pinoys in the Philippines or abroad.
2. Easier access to global trends
Back then, Filipino kids relied on magazine subscriptions and television shows to become up to date with the latest trends in fashion, food and technology, among others. Today, they can access all these with just a few clicks. The Internet has also enabled young Filipinos to share their thoughts on new trends and fads through blogs, forums and message groups. Many young Pinoys have turned to the Internet to update each other on the latest cultural craze in global capitals.
3. Keeping in touch
Through applications such as Line, Viber, Whatsapp and WeChat, the Internet has helped young Filipinos remain in contact and bond with long-lost relatives and childhood friends. Specifically, it has been tagged as “an instrument to keep up and maintain relationships with close friends and family members” by a report submitted to UNICEF.
4. Educational tool
Nothing beats a book that you can hold in your hand while studying. But if you have to deal with a lot of deadlines in school, Google and other websites come in handy. The Internet has been very helpful when it comes to school work and has been referred to as an education tool, according to studies. And the best part is, students can consult each other through online chat and do things more efficiently.
5. Enhanced self-expression and creativity
The Internet has given young Filipinos another venue to express their feelings about certain issues and people. Die-hard fans of celebrities used to be limited to mall tours several years ago, but they are now able to communicate and pay tribute to them directly with the help of online tools such as Instagram and YouTube. Now with the ability to create photo collages, music videos and open letters as a form of self-expression, Pinoys have been turned into “prosumers” (both producer and consumer) with the help of the Internet, studies noted.
6. Source of entertainment
“Candy Crush” and “Flappy Bird” may have “ruined” a few lives as some people claim, but you have to admit these and many other smartphone applications are fun ways to pass the time while waiting for the next bus or train.
While mainly one-player games, these apps have encouraged friendly competition among Filipinos from different age groups. According to the Mobile Internet Consumer Report for Southeast Asia released in 2013, the Philippines has the highest download rate for games and apps in the region.
Aside from games, young Filipinos are one in downloading the latest video and music content as well as other photo-editing software with the help of the Internet.
More and more Filipino youth are using their smartphones to go online, highlighting the importance of a fast and stable mobile Internet connection for easy access to information, games, music, movies and other content.
This is why Smart Communications, the country’s leading wireless service provider, has come up with an “Internet For All” campaign, letting millions of Filipinos enjoy four times more fiber power for a faster online experience.
How has the Internet helped you connect with your fellow young Filipinos? Use the hashtag #SmartInternetForAll and share your answers on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
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