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Goa’s Generation Y and the Internet

Wired and Connected


What makes them click?

Let’s face it. Here in Goa we’re part of the newly connected world. We haven’t had as many years of experience on the internet as other places on the planet. And yet young people in Goa are flocking to the net in droves, tadalafil and it’s now a central part of so many of our lives.

As far as I know, there’s never been a comprehensive study on what Goa’s young people are doing online. So when I was asked to write this story on Goa’s Generation Y and the internet, I had to rely on anecdotal evidence and the impressions I have from the people I know. I’m a 28-year-old guy with lots of friends online, and my conclusion is this: young Goans love the internet for online games, social networking, peer-to-peer messaging, watching movies and following pop stars on YouTube. And then, of course, there’s porn. I’ll get to that later.

While it’s true that in relative terms we’re internet newbies, India’s 2011 census showed that Goa has the highest percentage of Internet users in all of India, a country where overall Internet penetration is now growing by around 30 percent a year, according to global digital analyst comScore.

An estimated 15 to 20 percent of Goans now have access to the Internet, compared to the national average of around 12 percent. Overall, India, with 165 million people on the Net, is number 3 in the world in terms of total number of Internet users, behind only China and the U.S. Yet it ranks near the bottom of the list globally, at 164, when it comes to the percentage of the population online. But with growth of Internet penetration at its current levels both in Goa and India at large, that ranking is certain to change very quickly.

And at the centre of this boom are Goa’s young.

For Paula D’Silva, it’s the phenomenon called ‘Farmville’. No sooner does she get home from her job where she has newly joined, and like a dart she races to the computer to the farm management simulation game located on Facebook.

However, the love for the game comes at a price – indignation from other family members. Her mother thinks she should “engage herself in much more useful activity” and her brothers want to use the computer themselves.

But she’s addicted. “I don’t know, I just love playing the game. There’s always something different to do… something new to look forward to,” Paula said.


Browsing through the phone


It’s no surprise that the more ‘intelligent’ games have fewer takers than the action or the plain banal ones. The novelty of playing against a random person online who is also using a screen name and whom you have never met appears to be quite fascinating to the young Goan mind.

Farmville, which Time magazine described as “a series of mindless chores on a digital farm”, has certainly gripped a good number of young minds like that of Paula and many others among the 18-24 age group, the sector most enamoured of online gaming.

Another popular internet space among Goa’s young is that of being a fan. Call it another level of social networking or another level of wasting time. A lot of this takes place in a Facebook niche called Pages, where various brands and celebrities interact with their fans.

It isn’t uncommon to find people from 18 right up to their mid-40s raving about their favourite football club, pop singer or film, meeting others of similar minds (or dissimilar minds) online.

“Here is where the internet and social media in particular is making a difference. They are giving the young people a platform to express themselves, even if it is just to their friends. This on one side may be making us all a bit loud mouthed, but more importantly is changing the way people think, changing who they are,” Jonathan Fernandes, a young man who’s studying for his PhD in math.

As in much of the country, in Goa there’s quite a bit of illegal downloading of games, programmes, movies, songs, videos and other content. A typical young Goan might say they’re against piracy, but then have no problem grabbing stuff for free.

A trend picking up among young women, inspired by popular cooking shows like Master Chef Australia, is that of collecting exotic recipes on the internet and then making the dishes at home.

“My husband calls me internet cook. But how does that matter as long as the food I cook is edible and all like it,” said Astrida Alphonso, 27, a newly wed woman.

No profile of today’s youth on the internet can be complete without the mention of pornography. That’s because so many watch it online (like everywhere else in the world!). What this means for human relationships, social traditions and individuals’ psychological well being would be a topic for another article. Suffice to say lots of folks in Goa watch porn online. You know it. I know it.

There’s a popular saying: “The internet is what you want it to be.” It’s clear to me we’re better off with the web at our fingertips, if only because it’s so much harder to pull the wool over our eyes with Google just a click away.