Media, the Internet and the Filipino Youth

In the midst of these issues, young people tend to rely more and more on their peers and on the media in determining what is right and wrong. The McCann-Erickson Study (cited in Philippine Commission on Population, 2003) confirmed that media is indeed becoming the guide of young people in determining what is right and what is wrong. The priorities and the things considered by youth as important are heavily influenced by media. This is supported by the findings of the Young Adults Fertility and Sexuality Survey III (Ogena and Berja, 2003).

Different forms of media are highly accessible to Filipino youth. TV viewing is very high among young people—they can spend up to 14 hours daily in watching TV shows. The Internet is being used more in urban areas and by students. Unfortunately, only about 6% of young people are using the Internet and most of them are found in the urban areas. This creates a kind of technological divide among the youth. In 2002, only about one in every five youth used Internet for various reasons. In the Metro Manila area, 15% of youth use the Internet. Notably, around 55% of young people have been exposed to pornographic materials through the media they have been exposed to (Ogena and Berja, 2003).

From a general discussion of the situation of Filipino youth, we now move into the Internet and the characteristics of young people that can be gleaned from their usage of the Internet. According to Toral (2007) of digitalfilipino.com, there are three main reasons why young Filipinos (25 years old and below) are using the Internet: research, social networking and gaming.

Research is still the number one reason for surfing the Web. This is followed closely by social networking and gaming. Although a number of the respondents already have computers and internet access at home, 57% of them still prefer to go to Internet cafes. On the average, a Filipino youth spends P350 per month for Internet access. Seventy-five (75) percent of the respondents of the study are online gamers. Depending on the extent of their addiction to online gaming, they may spend anywhere between 2 to 12 hours a day in an internet café just playing video games. But the average number of hours spent is 12 hours per week (Toral, 2007).

Popular Websites among Filipino Youth

Among the respondents in Toral’s study, Friendster is considered s the most popular. Friendster is one of the most effective social networking sites. Young people can easily meet online friends, share photos, music, and they can even publish their thoughts though the Friendster blog. Friendster integrates email, photos, and even chat. Even the youngest among young people are using friendster as a social networking site.

Yahoo messenger follows Friendster in terms of popularity. We still have teenagers spending hours on the landline phone, but chatting via Yahoo Messenger is now more popular. YahooMail is on the third spot in the honor roll of most popular websites, followed by Google, which is a very useful research website. Also worth mentioning are YouTube, a video-streaming website; Wikipedia, an online editable encyclopedia, and MSN messenger, which is another chat provider.