Opportunities and Challenges – Kashmir Reader

With new tools and new knowledge, young people have a world wide open to explore, learn and share.

The internet in Kashmir is only two decades old. It was August 14, 2003 when the then Prime Minister of India, AB Vajpayee, launched cellular internet in the state of Jammu and Kashmir and since then there has been a long history of blackouts. Internet in Kashmir from time to time. The internet has brought new opportunities to this part of the world, but internet shutdowns have always disrupted the pace at which the internet could have played a role in the development of this region.
As the internet has brought opportunities, it has also brought ‘social media’ to Kashmiri society, and since its arrival, it has taken our society by storm. Jammu and Kashmir has 60 lakh internet users and over 1 crore mobile phone subscribers. With cheaper internet available and the arrival of Jio Telecommunication Company in the Indian telecom sector, the launch of cheaper plans for subscribers gave a boost to internet users in India and then the Indian government’s Digital India initiative gave internet subscribers an extra boost. Thus, a completely new platform is now available even to people who had no prior knowledge of it.
Social media is an amazing invention that has brought the world closer together than ever before. The latest figures show that there are expected to be 3.96 billion social media users globally in 2022, and by 2025 experts predict that the total number of social media users in China will reach 1.13 billion. and those in India will reach 490.3 million. In just over a decade, the impact of social media has grown from an entertaining supplement to a fully integrated part of nearly every aspect of daily life for many. With the advent of mobile technology devices and the growth of social media platforms, many young people not only have easier and faster access to media, but also to create and share media.
A new wave of learning through social media has opened doors for young people to learn everything from foreign languages ​​to how to write computer code and everything in between. You can now know what is happening in the United States or the effects of Brexit. All of this vast amount of knowledge at their fingertips is completely new, and in some ways young people benefit more than adults because of their familiarity with new media and their openness to using it as a source of learning.
Social networking sites and the use of wireless communication programs allow real-time conversations with someone remotely. It provides an opportunity to pursue relationships that in the past would have been too distant and to make new ones with friends from all over the world. We come to know from our older generation about writing letters. However, the wait between the letters was a challenge and they quickly faded. Now, the open line of communication creates new understandings and collaborations for young people from very different cultures. They can build global coalitions around everything from special interests and hobbies to activism activities.
The ease of creating media provides the ability not only to create original media, but also to share their creations with the world. Armed with a smartphone equipped with a camera, one can tell a story and broadcast it to millions of people around the world. Isn’t it amazing? Apps like Instagram allow you to record 60 second videos and share them. Mobile technology puts the ability to take photos and create movies in the hands of young people. Sites such as YouTube, social networking sites and blogging sites allow young people to develop a global audience for their work. Instead of waiting until they can afford expensive equipment, young people can use mobile devices to hone their filmmaking and photography skills as they grow and learn. It brings new vision and new ideas in the media industries.
Opportunities also come with challenges. The challenges of this new era of fast and easy social media lie in both media consumption and media creation. One of the biggest challenges young people face when dealing with new media revolves around sex. With the average teenager on WhatsApp with an average contact list of over 200 and using the internet for 18.5 hours a week or more, exposure to media that depicts unhealthy sexual practices and attitudes is high. Given leaked sex tapes, nude photo leaks have become common and with some respectable adults associating with such news, it’s no surprise that young people think it’s cool to send and ask for nudes. Not only is pornography more accessible than ever, but even mainstream media tends to portray sexual behavior without any mention of risk or liability. This creates a very real challenge for young people who can rely on the media to provide them with advice and information on sexuality and sexual practices. From cyberbullying to sexting, social media opens up avenues for problems in social relationships that didn’t exist in the 90s. But now, it’s possible to have adult bullies on social media. As teens and tweens, as they call themselves on Twitter, use more high-profile forms of communication, the risks of miscommunication increase exponentially. Between texting and social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and the recent trendy Clubhouse, young people are communicating more easily with their friends outside of school and after-school activities. But due to the lack of traditional social cues such as body language and facial expression, many will end up arguing with friends over issues that might not have arisen had they spoken to each other face to face. face.
Of course, the danger of being victimized by an adult predator is always present when young people use social media to communicate with people who are unknown to them in real life. Kids who use mobile technology to share sexy photos of themselves with a friend may find that the ease of sharing photos leads what they thought was private to become public. The arguments, photos and sexy conversations and bullying that start on social media can spill over into real life and cause devastating social issues for young people.
These challenges to media use and accessibility are very real, and young people need the guidance of trusted adults to learn how to negotiate them in order to make the most of the opportunities created by increased access. The problem is that the parents and elders who are supposed to guide the children have no idea how social media works. They are unaware that their children are sending and receiving inappropriate images while sitting with them. But with these challenges come opportunities for young people to increase their knowledge and skills and share their own ideas more widely.
Young people today have the opportunity to use the media in ways that would not even have been imagined twenty years ago. There is no doubt that media education is indispensable for children and adolescents today. Opportunities come with challenges, but when young people receive media literacy, it gives them the tools to learn how to use social media safely, to critically analyze the messages sent to them from different sites and to learn how to build and share media and their thoughts, skills and knowledge on their own terms. With these new tools and knowledge, young people have a world wide open to explore, learn and share.

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