KINGSTON — Nearly three quarters of Jamaican youths are logging on to the Internet to find information and to interact with their friends on social networks.
This was revealed in the 2010 Jamaica National Youth Survey released in June, which stated that almost 74 per cent of young people between 15 and 24 years reported that they have access to computers, while 47 per cent said that they use them at home. Another 93 per cent stated that they use the computers mainly to access the Internet while six per cent use a cellular phone.
More than 74 per cent reported that the Internet had improved their “access to information,” while 46 per cent indicated that it had improved their “relationship with friends and relatives."
The Youth Survey released in June by the Statistical Institute of Jamaica was commissioned by the Government under the Youth Development Programme Loan agreement signed with the Inter-American Development Bank.
Specific focus was placed on youth living and working on the street as well as youth in state care, entrepreneurial and employment opportunities, spirituality and values and unattached youth. A total of 5,426 youths comprising 2,726 females participated in the survey.
Commenting on the findings of the survey at a recent Jamaica Information Think Tank session held at the Agency’s head office, Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture, Senator Warren Newby said he was enthused by the fact that many young people were using computers and had access to the World Wide Web.
“The penetration of cellular technology in Jamaica puts us in the highest band in the world but the utilization of the cellular technology for other than just voice services to access data, to surf the Internet, I was very enthused by what the findings were showing,” he said.
Meanwhile, Senator Newby said he was distressed by the findings that suggest that many young people believed that their lives would improve if they lived overseas.
“What was distressing was the fact that many young people did not see Jamaica as having the keys to their success and were not as attached to the society as one would want them to be. The majority indicated that if they had an opportunity to migrate they would,” he said.
The survey indicated that more than 57 per cent of (attached to household) youths reported that they thought their lives would improve if they lived in the United States. 52 per cent thought they would be better off in Canada and 57 per cent thought that living in England would improve their lives.
In light of the findings, Senator Newby said that the Ministry would have to assess its strategy in re-engaging the youths so as to achieve the Vision 2030 plan, where Jamaica will be a place of choice to live, work, raise families and do businesses.
“It means we quickly have to assess our strategy in informing them about Vision 2030 and re-engaging them into the national spirit that is required for that national plan of action to come to fruition,” he added.
By E HARTMAN RECKORD, JIS Information Officer