This last term, I taught about 300 of the 500-member class "Introduction to Computers" at MUCG. One essay question asked the students to relate personal experiences, both positive and negative, with information technology.
What a wonderful way to gain insights into West African teens' use of information technology.
In this second post, I excerpt some of their self-reported negatives:
Because I am a business girl and at the same time a student a don't always go for lectures because lecture periods crush with my other business. Because of information technology I have access to lecture notes on net.
Information technology has introduced me to many friends which makes we waste much of my time charting with friends on net.
[most of the bandwidth going to the university is probably being used to post to facebook, I'd guess.]
The aspect of my life which has been impacted by information technology was lying. I lied to somebody through a cell phone which I didn't know the person was standing right behind me. The person called me through a cellphone and asked me where I am and I lied to him that I am doing something urgently for my father which was a lie. I became ashamed of myself when I saw the person behind me. The positive impact through this cell phone was that the person was able to reached me within a short time just like three (3) seconds. The negative is I lied to the person through the cell phone which I became ashamed of myself.
The negative impact of this facebook system has made me to lie about certain things about my personal life. This has become so because you would want to be in the range of people who use this system. Some of the lies include telling people your wrong age just to fit in and also send false pictures to be posted on the net.
[We have been trying to help a man from the USA locate a "Natasha" he found on the internet who claimed to live in Accra. Unfortunately, we had to conclude that it was another case of "sakawa," see below...]
I remember when my dad was abroad, USA to be precise, he saved lot of money becasue he knew my siblings and I were graduating from SHS to the university. But when we about to enter into the tertiary my dad called and said he has been duped by fraudsters and all his long-saved money was gone through the internet. This what information technology brought to us becasue of what we call "sakawa" my siblings and I had to spend two years at home before going to school. This is the negative part of it.
However, not everything about IT has turned out to be good, sometime back my dad's credit card number got into the hands of some fraudsters and they cleared out his accounts online, he ended up losing lots of money.
But with every great power comes a price and this price that I have to pay is the bombardment of pornographic pop-ups and malware infested sites which may cause damage to my computer so although I try to gain helpful information from the internet sometimes I see things that are negative to my health or damage my computer.
it has had an adverse effect also on my life when my friend nearly ended up making me an adult movie addict "introducing me into pornography" but with good advise I have been able to overcome this addiction and hope IT would only impact others in the positive way.
IT can also impact negative information to students. This can be done, when a student goes to the internet and visit a website that contains pornographic movies and pictures, the student might be aroused, therefore he/she might practice such act which might cause teenage pregnancy and early parenting.
The use of the internet also has its side effects in terms of increasing immoral lives side effects in terms of increasing immoral lives since one can go the internet and have access to ponographical films that at the world put him into practising them. This brings about increasement in rape cases and high rate of prostitution.
Even with the good aspect it has a negative one too and this by introducing machines into the various companies to replace human labour. With this some workers were dismissed and my mother was included. This made her unemployed and has affected my family economically. That is by introducing some information technology make some people unemployed.
As a result of Information technology a worker like me at the post office is not recieving customers because people sit in the house and deliver the necessary information.
It has tended to make me lazy because instead of doing the research myself, I rather go for the answer on the internet. Like this I am not able to experience for myself the first handedly the process and the fun obtained from carrying out researches.
There was also a time when I lost my mobile phone. I was very restless because I could not easily communicate with people afar. [Ghana has less than one landline phone per 100 population, but nearly 50 cellphones per 100, so the loss of a cellphone is a real problem!]
The use of cell phones is much more easier and fast, also, no matter how far the distance you always get to talk. In Ghana it is always not so because the reception is not good sometimes and it is also costly to get a good cell phone which is a disadvantage.
Although the ATM is the fastest way to withdraw money, people stand close to them, and as soon as you withdraw some money, they attack you.
But it is with this same machines that help to cure illness that has also brought about more injuries in hospitals. Some machines used for scanning and x-rays are known to have side effects of skin cancer. Also, this machines if not placed plugged properly could cause fire hazards and deep wounds by the machine dropping.
How differently would US college freshmen answer this question?