The internet has brought the world closer than ever. Sanika Tipre and Fatema Savai find out how the web has connected youngsters in different parts of the world
The need to constantly stay in touch has evolved in the past years. From hunting and gathering in little groups, all of us are now a part of so many groups, local and international most of these online. And more often than not, it is the youth that is at the forefront of not only becoming a part of such groups but also creating and managing them.
Shares Lisa Martin, director and co-founder of O-MUN (online model united nations), "The internet is everything. Every bit of communication we have, every debate, lobbying session, meeting, training, etc is enabled by the internet. It is the glue that makes our organisation possible. Students in Israel and Lebanon, who according to the Lebanese law are not even supposed to communicate with one another, have had meaningful, if tentative conversations at O-MUN." Another such organisation that has used the internet optimally connect people from across border is the EUMIND - Europe meets India , an initiative built to enable students and teachers from Europe and India to interact with each other via regular video chats. Says Zubaida Waghle, senior math and physics teacher from St Gregorious High School, which is part of EUMIND, "E-journals, exclusively created for EUMIND, facilitate the sharing of articles and pictures for projects between member schools. Topics of mutual interest for projects are chosen and executed upon through video conferencing. Programmes and schedules are also set through the internet."
BONDING BEYOND BOOKS
Apart from academics, the web has also helped youngsters communicate with people with a wide range of common interests. Affirms Anwesha Mishra, a class XII science student Science student, who follows Korean music (K-pop) online, "Ten years ago, I didn't know anything about Korean music. But now, I can follow a number of music artists through MySpace and various other forums. It is refreshing, binds me to people from different cultural backgrounds as well as helps me stay abreast with new music." Shares Vidhya Kumarswamy, a commerce student at Mithibai College, and an avid manga (comics originally published in Japan) reader, "Mangas still don't have a firm spot in India but online manga forums help us share and grow as a community. I have spoken to people from different countries and even participated in a few online meetings conducted by some amazing manga artists."
From the simple email to complex virtual classrooms and global communities, technology has managed to invade all invisible barriers and connect people in every corner of the world. Kumarswamy concludes, "The youth of today is lucky to have the internet because it helps us learn about different cultures at the click of a mouse. It has widened horizons for meeting new people and getting an interesting perspective on things."