Is free wi-fi doing more harm than good?

Xoliswa Kali

I often drive by groups of young people taking full advantage of the free data.

The temptation to ask ‘nenzani ngale data?’ (what are you doing with this data) never leaves me.

Yes, I am suspicious that they might be downloading pornography and music instead of finding answers to their homework.

The other day I was at a library for a creative writing workshop.

Once again, there were many children in the yard, disappointingly much fewer inside the building.

As I got out of the car one of them asked another “are there books in this library?”

Disappointment punched me in the face!

He is at the library to access free wi-fi, for whatever, yet it does not sound like he has ever been inside.

I understand the need to make information freely accessible through the internet.

But is this free wi-fi doing more harm than good?

How do we ensure that those who have this access use it positively?

Does this access, outside the home, strip us of the power to monitor them?

And what about the information in books and newspapers? How do we make them want it?

As a responsible adult, I do not think that we can leave it up to the younger ones to decide how and when they access information.

Especially because I know that there is a lot of information that I don’t want them to access, yet or ever.

Xoliswa Kali

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