Lifestyle

Yes, The Internet Can Be Weird, But Social Media Is Spurring Change For Young Afghans

Many young and educated Afghans are turning to the World Wide Web to combat the strict social conventions that exist among them. Don’t be worried; it’s not a political uprising. Afghanistan is a deeply conservative and Islamic society that holds all of its citizens to a strict standard. While many of the older demographic may be at peace with the status quo; the young, however, are growing frustrated with the strict social convention.

Many of them are educated and they have turned to social websites like Facebook to interact “openly” with their friends and family. Social media has opened a new route for the young men and women of Afghanistan to communicate in private.

This phenomenon came to be after 3G networks were introduced in the country in the year, 2012. Today, around half a million Afghans use Facebook, according to the National Information Communication Technology Alliance of Afghanistan (NICTAA).

Love Is In The Air Social Media

In the not-so-long-ago era, marriages were arranged and strict rules made it horribly tough and dangerous for men and women to interact with one another. Today, online dating, Facebook, Gmail, among others, provide a frontier for couples to speak to one another, learn about each other, fall in love and then, get married. Many of them claim that social media allows them to air their views openly and it empowers their relationships.

Credit: Daniel Wilkinson (U.S. Department of State)
Image Credit: Daniel Wilkinson (U.S. Department of State)

I am awfully happy and a bit envious of them because social media is enriching their relational life. I have always known the Internet and social media sites to be distractive and quite disastrous for relationships. For that reason, I browse incognito and I make sure I delete all my messages, even if they are good. I’m beginning to think that I’m using the Internet all wrong.

Even with all the benefits that social media has provided the people of Afghan with, they still experience a few issues. According to the Straits Times, online messaging exposes young women to be abused by influential officials; while some influential officials claim that they are also sexually harassed and are approached for jobs by women. Surprising!

One government official claimed that women approach him often through social media. Many of them approached him for work but a few of them, however, approach him for a romantic thrill. Now, that’s the Internet I’m aware of.

Many women however, still view social media as a front for change and they do put up with bad comments and friend requests from stalkers (mostly men) in order to break down social convention. However, they soon wake up to the reality that online interaction doesn’t necessarily break down barriers in the real world.

Credit: reuters.com
Image Credit: reuters.com

One 22-year-old university student said she spoke to many of her male classmates online but they turned out to be quite shy and withdrawn when she later met them in person. I feel she should give them a break because they might not have stumbled upon videos that teach men about picking up women with funny pick-up lines.

No matter how weird the Internet gets, it’s always been a major tool in social change and evolution; and it’s going to be a continual improvement to the lives of the youth in Afghanistan.

 

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