Usage of the Internet and Its Effect On Youth Development

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By Toktam Namayandeh Joorabchi, Md. Salleh Hj. Hassan and Mohd. Nizam Osman

WJMCR 45 (October 2013)

Introduction | Research Questions | Patterns of Internet Usage | Gratification of Internet Usage | Positive Youth Development | Research MethodologyReach and Growth | Gratifications | Conclusion

Abstract

These days, more information is presented to more people from more sources than at any time in human history. This study was designed by applying the Uses and Gratification theory framework, to understand Internet usage among students. The objectives of this study are to identify the relationship between purpose of using the Internet, pattern of Internet usage and Internet skill with the gratification of Internet usage as a mediation variable and positive youth development (PYD). The objectives for this study are to determine the mediating effects of Internet gratification usage between purposes of Internet usage, Internet skill, and patterns of Internet usage and positive youth development. The present study used a survey design to achieve its objectives. This study found a significant and positive relationship between purposes of Internet usage with gratification of Internet usage. Also, the purpose of Internet usage has significant relationship with connection and confidence in PYD dimension. The relationship between gratification of Internet usage and five dimensions of positive youth development is positive and significant. The relationship between pattern of using Internet and the character dimension in positive youth development is significant. There is no relationship between Internet skill and 5 dimensions of PYD.

Keywords: Media, Internet usage, Positive Youth Development, Malaysia

Introduction

Lack of information creates a negative impact on our lives, particularly on the educated layer of society. The new media is one of the most important mass media in the world and it changes the world in many aspects. Students are the most important group in society because they would be building the future society. Students who use the Internet tend to be more open-minded than those who do not use the Internet. According to Trish 1, women who use the Internet tend to be more open minded than those who do not use the Internet. Malaysia has 16 million Internet users 2. Even children in Malaysia spend 19 hours per week, 9 out of 10 had been to negative experience while surfing3. In 2008, 17.9% Malaysian youth, their age between 15 to 19 are the highest users of Internet compared to the other age group4. The National Youth Development Policy of Malaysia considers youth as people aged between 15 and 40 years5. Because Malaysia was chosen as a location of this study, researchers followed the Malaysian’s youth definition. The youngest respondents are 18 years and the oldest ones are 40 years old.

Youth programmers should makes the plan for the youth and teach them to develop themselves in a positive manner. If society guides youth to the positive way, they automatically keep their distance from anti-social and abnormal behavior. Young people whose lives have higher amounts of the Five Cs (Competence, Character, Caring, Confidence and Connection) would be at lower risk for a developmental path that integrates personal, social, and behavioral problems and risks6. The research had been done by Yusof, Hashim, Vengadasamy and Sivapunniam7 shows that students that have blogs mentioned that their self-confidence increased when their friends and families visited their home pages to read their creative work. In another study Sivapunniam, Hamdan, and Yusof 8 show that online discussion forums play an important role within the online learning environment. Therefore, it is of interest to find out how the use of Internet contributes towards positive youth development in term of 5Cs. Studies elsewhere have shown that with proper guidance the youth will be able to attain such development9. This study tries to find out if the Internet can increase 5Cs among students? If media lead youth to the positive development they are automatically far away from the negative development10.

Research Questions

  1. Is there a relationship between Internet usage and gratifications of Internet usage? Is there a relationship between Internet usage and positive developments?
  2. What is the mediating effect of Internet gratification use between the independent variables (Internet skill, pattern of Internet usage and purpose of Internet usage) and positive youth development?

Patterns of Internet Usage

Asemi 11, studied information-searching habits of Internet users in a medical science university in Isfahan. She found that 87 % of the students accessed the Internet in the facility, and that 15 % logged in four hours a day, 76 % two hours a day and 54 %an hour daily. Their purposes for using the Internet were: searching for information for research (55 %), looking up general information such as travel and tourism (37 %) and downloading music, movies, etcetera (8%). Twenty-eight percent did research work, 41 %, read e-journals and 37% checked email. Yahoo and Google are the most popular and widely used search engines with 61% and 68 %, respectively. Fifty four percent of the respondents said that they “Always find useful information,” while 51% mentioned that the “Internet has the best source of information.”

The Internet can be accessed from a variety of locations – home, office, library, school, museum, hotel, airport, etc. The most common place for users to access the Internet is from home (94%), followed by the office (53%), and while traveling (36%). Libraries are used as places from which to access the Internet by about one third of all Internet users. Less than one third of users (31%) access the Internet from public libraries. However, there are some who access the Internet from other types of libraries as well. Out of the variety of libraries used by those who use the library to access the Internet, public libraries are the most common type of library (93%), followed by school libraries (16%), special (medical, law, government) libraries (10%) and college or university libraries (6%)12.

Internet Skill

The concept of Internet skills is just one of many concepts that have resulted from the rapid diffusion of digital technologies in society. Internet experience is positively related to how long an individual has used the Internet. Novak, Hoffman and Yung13 define skills as a user’s capacity for action during the online navigation process. Users who have used the Internet for longer periods are more likely to use the Internet for task-oriented activities, for instance, looking for reference material or product information, conducting research and shopping.

Gratification of Internet Usage

Paul Lazarsfeld and Frank Stanton14 published a series of work during World War II that focused on how audiences use the media in their daily life15. Herzong, a student of Lazarsfeld, used the term ‘gratifications’ in 1944 in media research history and is often credited as the founder of the Uses and Gratifications theory. Herzong was interested in why women enjoyed soap operas. She conducted a research investigating the Uses and Gratifications of radio soap operas (Herzong,16 cited in Baran and Davis)17.

Rubin18 mentioned that people use communication media to fulfill their variety of needs. Windahl19 noted that the main difference between the traditional effects theory and Uses and Gratifications theory in mass communication is usually examined from the point of view of communicators for the former, while the members of audience is a starting point in Uses and Gratifications study. According to Blumer and Katz 20, for both society and individuals, the media serve the functions of surveillance, correlation, entertainment and cultural transmission. Blumler, Katz and Gurevitch21 said that the Uses and Gratifications theory was an attempt to explain how individuals use the media to satisfy their needs and achieve their goals instead of the media having ultimate power over the viewer.

The assumptions of the U&G theory put forward22 by Denis McQuail, quoted by Stafford et al23 are:

  1. Media selection and use is purposive and motivated, and people take the initiative in selecting and using communication vehicles to satisfy felt needs and desires.
  2. The audience is active.
  3. Based on previous experience with the media, the audience makes motivated choices, and
  4. In everyday life, the media use is only one way amongst others to satisfy needs.

Blumler and Katz24 summarized the theory as one concerned with: (1) the social and psychological origins of (2) needs, which generates (3) expectations of (4) the mass media or other sources, which lead to (5) differential patterns of media exposure or engagement in other activities, resulting in (6) needs gratification and (7) other consequences, perhaps mostly unintended ones. Dimmick, Sikand and Patterson25 noted that this approach views the audience member as being a user who makes conscious and motivated choices in the selection of media and content.

Katz, Gurevitch and Haas26 studied people’s use of the mass media to meet specific needs, and presented a five-fold classification of needs, which they say all media users essentially have. These are

  1. Cognitive needs: Needs related to strengthening of information, knowledge and understanding of our environment.
  2. Affective needs: Needs related to strengthening aesthetic, pleasurable and emotional experience.
  3. Personal Integrative needs: Needs related to strengthening credibility, confidence, stability and status of the individuals.
  4. Social Integrative needs: Needs related to strengthening contact with family, friends and the world.
  5. Escapist needs: Needs related to escape, release tension and the desire for diversion.

Positive Youth Development

The PYD approach builds upon what have become known as the “Five Cs”: Competence, Confidence, Connection, Character and Caring 27. Researchers theorized that youth whose lives incorporated this Five Cs would be on a developmental path that would result in the development of a Sixth C: Contributions to self, family and community, and to the institutions of a civil society. Such contributions are envisioned to have both a behavioral (action) constituent and an ideological component, for instance, the young person possesses a characteristic that specifies such contributions are predicated on moral and civic duty 28.

On the other hand, when youth believe that they should contribute to self and context and when they act on these beliefs, they will both reflect and promote further advances in their own positive development and, also, the health of their social world. Additionally, Lerner 29mentioned that those youth whose lives contained lower amounts of the Five Cs would be at higher risk for a developmental path that consists of personal, social and behavioral problems and risks.

Integrating the theoretical ideas about the plasticity of adolescent development and the practical findings about the multiple pathways children take through adolescence led to the framework now known asPYD, which views young people as resources to be developed rather than as problems to be managed 30.

This relationship between PYD and risk/problem behaviors, though, was not seen as simple or uniform. The plasticity of development meant that some children from some homes, schools and communities that lacked resources and supports demonstrated themselves to be resilient and resistant to problems. Others who came from environments filled with resources and supports were drawn nonetheless into numerous troubles. However, in general, PYD examiners hypothesized that the availability of activities that supported the Five Cs would help steer young people toward a life of successful contribution 31.

Methodology

A survey was conducted at Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM), Serdang, Malaysia. The design of the study required data to be collected from local students in three major races such as Malay, Chinese and Indian who are doing their Bachelor, Master and PhD in this university. Respondents for this study were selected using a cluster sampling method. This technique is very useful when dealing with a very large target population when it would be impossible to generate a complete sampling frame 32. Then, the questionnaire was distributed among 16 faculties according to the population of each faculty. Sample size for this study is 400 respondents. Before the actual data collection, a pre-test was conducted among 40 students. In addition, pilot study was conducted among 40 respondents, and the reliability was higher than 0.7. The data were analyzed by using descriptive statistics and SEM (Structural Equation Modeling) for the relationship among variables. Analysis of Moment Structures (AMOS) was used because it implements the general approach to data analysis known as SEM, also known as analysis of covariance structures, or causal modeling 33. This approach includes, as special cases, many well-known conventional techniques, including the general linear model and common factor analysis. SEM is an extension of the General Linear Model (GLM). SEM is used more as a confirmatory technique rather than exploratory technique. SEM is used to test ‘complex’ relationships between observed (measured) and unobserved (latent) variables and relationships between two or more latent variables. In addition SEM used for the measurement the relationship between problems in using Internet and attitudes towards Internet and 5 dimensions of PYD.

Discriminant Validity

Discriminant validity can be tested by examining the AVE for each construct against squared correlations (shared variance) between the construct and all other constructs in the model. A construct will have adequate discriminant validity if the AVE exceeds the squared correlation among the constructs34. Based on the Table 1, AVE for each of construct is more than each of squared correlation between two constructs. Therefore, discriminant validity is adequate for all of the constructs.

Table 1 : Discriminant Validity

Manifest (Observe) Variable123456
1(0.791)0.0696960.0295840.0466560.20250.1521
20.264(0.667)0.77440.1513210.1149210.241081
30.1720.880(0.750)0.0882090.0655360.170569
40.2160.3890.297(0.788)0.1823290.218089
50.4500.3390.2560.427(0.899)0.116964
60.3900.4910.4130.4670.342(0.807)

1: Purpose, 2: Confidence, 3: Competence, 4: Caring, 5: Connection, 6: Gratification

Note: Correlations are below the diagonal, squared correlations are above the diagonal, and AVE is presented on the diagonal, in parenthesis.

Convergent Validity

The results show that CR is between 0.75 to 0.990 in this research. Convergent validity refers to a set of variables that presume to measure a construct35. Therefore, Average Variance Extracted (AVE) for convergent validity. A high AVE (> .5) indicates a high convergent validity36. Also, high factor loadings (≥.5) on a factor indicate high convergent validity37. In this study, AVE is above 0.5 (Table 2). Thus, the results prove that convergent validity (AVE) and Construct Reliability (CR) exist for the constructs of this study.

Table 2 : The Result of CFA for Measurement Model

Construct and indicators (items/parcels)Standard Factor Loading(>0.5)Composite reliability(>0.7)Average Variance Extract (AVE) (>0.5)
Purpose   
Purpose10.530.9710.791
Purpose20.57  
Purpose40.61  
Purpose60.54  
Purpose90.55  
Purpose150.53  
Purpose170.53  
Purpose180.59  
Purpose190.60  
Confidence   
Self-worth10.640.7980.667
Self-worth20.79  
Competence   
Academic competence10.73  
Academic competence20.550.8990.750
Academic competence30.63  
Caring   
Caring30.580.9360.788
Caring40.57  
Caring50.66  
Caring60.69  
Caring70.74  
Connection   
School0.680.7500.899
Family0.54  
Community0.72  
Gratification   
Gratification10.590.9900.807
Gratification20.57  
Gratification50.66  
Gratification60.68  
Gratification80.52  
Gratification90.52  
Gratification100.55  
Gratification110.56  
Gratification150.64  
Gratification160.68  
Gratification180.68  
Gratification210.71  
Gratification220.68  
Gratification230.72  

Reliability

The most commonly used reliability coefficient test is the Cronbach’s Alpha that is based on the internal consistency of the test and the average correlation of items within a test. The reliability of instruments is shown by the degree of its reliability coefficient38 states that in practice the reliability coefficient should be more than 0.7 (Table 3).

Table 3 : Cronbach’s Alpha Value of the Instruments

Variables Number of Items (n=40)Cronbach’s Alpha
Purposes of Internet usage230.88
Gratification of Internet usage230.90
Positive identity60.74
Personal values 50.88
Social conscience60.82
Value of diversity40.70
Caring90.79
Family connection60.73
Community connection50.81
University connection70.70
Peer connection40.80

Reach and Growth

Purpose of Internet Usage

All data before analyzing were subjected to the normality test. The result shows that all data were normal. Regarding the purposes in using the Internet among the respondents, the purpose of “checking my Facebook” obtained the highest mean” (M =4.51, S.D =0.88) followed by “finding information relevant to research” (M =4.25, S.D =0.80). In addition, three low mean related to “check the weather report and forecasts” (M=2.75, S.D=1.21) followed by “checking my Twitter” (M=2.44, S.D=1.59) and last and least was “Shopping (E-commerce)” (M=2.37, S.D=1.21) (Table 4).

Table 4 : Distribution of Respondents according to Purpose of Internet Usage in Percent (n=400)

Purpose of Internet usage                      (%)Not at allOnce in a whileModerateFrequentVery FrequentMeanS.D
Checking my Facebook2.32.07.019.369.44.510.88
Finding information relevant to research                                                        0.52.81240.744.04.250.80
Sending and receiving e-mail                                                                        004.314.334.447.04.240.85
Downloading music and other things2.04.313.033.047.74.200.95
Listening to music1.75.515.335.542.04.100.97
Finding news                                                                                    0.82.819.742.734.04.060.84
Finding entertainment information1.74.517.540.036.34.040.93
Watching episodes in YouTube4.77.718.529.339.83.911.14
Chatting and instant messaging (IM)                                                                     1.87.721.539.030.03.870.98
Getting databases                                                                                          1.78.028.040.521.83.720.94
Finding information about my hobbies                                                           3.07.527.539.722.33.700.99
Researching digital library                                                                             2.87.029.739.521.03.690.97
Finding medical or health information                                                        4.712.327.340.315.43.451.04
Meeting people                                                                                              6.515.329.729.519.03.391.14
Checking advertisement and product information                                       9.311.531.034.214.03.321.13
Reading journals via the Internet (E-journal)8.515.532.029.015.03.261.14
Internet banking                                                    20.715.524.522.017.32.991.37
Arranging traveling such as buying online ticket and hotel reservations  21.017.723.322.715.32.931.36
Using Internet for political news                                                                 21.017.027.520.713.82.891.32
Reading books via the Internet (E-book)     14.026.335.417.37.02.771.10
Checking the weather report and forecasts                                                                              20.323.229.419.37.82.751.21
Checking my Twitter488.013.712.018.32.441.59
Shopping (E-commerce)                                                                              32.721.527.313.05.52.371.21

Checking the Facebook was the main purpose for respondents, as people need to share knowledge, episodes, photos and inform their contacts about some activities they are doing recently or new places that they are visiting. In addition, online shopping was the lowest mean because probably they could not trust online retailers. This supports Aldesardottir’s39 study that showed this trend and also previous studies that reported searching for information as the most important purposes among users 40.

Patterns of Internet Usage

Of the respondents, 45.5% had five to eight years of Internet usage followed by more than 16 years made up only one percent. The majority of the respondents are those \who used the Internet less than 10 times a week at 86.5 %, followed by 11 to 20 times a week at 9.5 %. Sixty two percent used the Internet less than 23 hours per week, 25 % of the respondents used it for 24 to 43 hours a week followed by those between 44 and 6341, 40-42 that reported similar frequency of hours per week at 10.2 % (Table 5). These findings are consistent with the previous studies Internet usage.

Table 5 : Distribution of Respondents by Patterns of Internet Use in Percent (n=400)

Patterns of Internet UsageFrequencyPercentage
Years of using Internet  
≤ 4 year7117.8
5-8 year18245.5
9-12 years11528.7
13-16 years287
>16 years41
Times per week  
≤ 10 times                                      34686.5
11-20 times                                                                  389.5
21-30 times                                                                    82
31-40 times                                           51.2
41-50 times20.5
<50 times10.3
Hours per week  
≤ hr 23                                                                      24160.2
24-43 hr                                            10025
44-63hr                                                                      4110.2
64-8351.3
84-10382
104-12330.8
> 123 hr                                                20.5
Interment skill  
Very skillful4411
Skillful17844.5
Somewhat skillful16340.7
Not skillful133.3
Not skillful at all20.5

Most of the respondents used the Internet for 5 to 8 years and browsing the Internet 10 times a week. They spend 10 hours per week because Internet provided lots of information and they can connect to their friends, families and relatives wherever they want as they mentioned on the purpose of Internet usage. The result of the current study supported the results of previous studies42.

Internet Skill

As shown in Table 5 total of 44.5 % of respondents reported their Internet skill as skillful. A total of 40.7 % of respondents claimed to be somewhat skillful and 11 % reported their Internet skill as very skillful. These findings are consistent with the previous studies43.

Gratifications

The cognitive dimension “to get information about something” is the highest mean (M=4.41, S.D=0.68). In escape dimension “To relax and unwind” (M=4.24, S.D=0.73) was the highest mean. In the social integration dimension “to keep in touch with people” was the highest mean” (M =4.18, S.D =0.73) (Table 6).

Table 6 : Distribution of Respondents according to Gratification of Internet Usage in Percent (n=400)

Gratification of Internet UsageStrongly DisagreeDisagreeNeutralAgreeStrongly AgreeMeanS. D
Cognitive       
To get information about something                             0.31.06.841.450.54.410.68
To help with my research                                                           0.50.88.542.048.24.360.71
Because it’s easy to get information I need0.31.38.74940.74.280.69
To learn new things                                                      0.30.78.055.036.04.250.65
To keep up to date on popular sites                                               1.54.322.044.427.83.920.89
It’s more convenient than going to the library                               4.86.826.435.326.73.721.07
Overall mean     4.15 
Affective       
Because it’s entertaining                                                                0.31.715.547.535.04.150.75
Because it’s exciting                                                                      0.82.020.748.228.34.010.79
Because it’s stimulating                                                     1.04.337.744.312.73.630.79
To role play or experiment with my identity6.716.540.529.07.33.130.99
Overall mean     3.92 
Personal Integration       
I can do things in my own space                                                 0.82.017.346.233.74.100.80
Because I can do whatever I want                                                 1.54.532.739.322.03.750.89
To put off doing something I should be doing                           2.57.436.037.316.83.580.93
Because I feel more in control                                                       2.57.550.429.310.33.370.86
Because I can act however I want4.315.736.331.312.43.321.01
Overall mean     3.81 
Escape       
To relax and unwind                                                                    0.81.010.249.039.04.240.73
Because it makes me feel less tense                                            0.33.520.344.431.54.030.82
Because it’s a pleasant break from my routine                              0.52.325.444.027.83.960.81
To get away from pressure and responsibilities                         5.710.331.33418.73.491.08
Overall mean     3.73 
Social Integration       
To keep in touch with people                                             0.70.711.054.333.34.180.71
Because I can talk with different people                             2.35.323.746.422.33.810.91
Because it’s a distraction from loneliness                                  2.37.027.741.521.53.730.95
Because I need to talk to someone3.59.0373317.53.520.99
Overall mean     3.62 

In the affective dimension “because it’s entertaining” (M=4.15, S.D=0.75) was the highest. The item “I can do things in my own space” (M=3.24, S.D=1.23) was the highest mean. Cognitive dimension was the highest dimension among all gratification of Internet usage dimensions (M=4.15) and social integration was the lowest (M=3.62).

According to the uses and gratification theory, people choose media that closely match their needs and interests. This means that the use of Internet is operated by choice, but the selection of specific contents would also depends on user’s interests 48. People want to have information due to needs or interests; therefore it is in cognitive dimension that people want to have knowledge and information.

In the escape dimension people want to escape and relax from pressures that they are facing in society, therefore the intent to relax was the highest mean. Furthermore, in social integration dimension keeping in touch with people had the highest mean due to the fact that humans need to communicate and since they are sociable, they could not live alone without any communication.

In the affection dimension, entertaining was the highest mean maybe because they enjoy it. In personal integration dimension, doing my own space was the highest mean because people want privacy for their information and they want to be free in their own space. The current study supported by the findings from the previous findings44.

Positive Youth Development

Confidence

As shown in Table 7 in the positive identity dimension “when I am an adult, I’m sure I will have a good life” was the highest mean (M=4.41, S.D=0.84) and “at times, I think that I am no good at all.” (M=2.81, S.D= 1.20) was the lowest mean. In the self-worth dimension “some students are pretty pleased with themselves” (M=3.61, S.D=0.83) was the highest mean and “some students do like the way they are leading their life” (M=3.54, S.D=0.85) was the lowest mean. In the confidence dimension, positive identity was the highest mean (M=3.66) and self-worth was the lowest (M=3.58).

Table 7 : Distribution Respondents according to Confidence in Percent (n=400)

ConfidenceStrongly DisagreeDisagreeNeutralAgreeStrongly AgreeMeanS. D
        
Positive identity       
When I am an adult, I’m sure I will have a good life1.01.518.839.539.34.410.84
On the whole, I like myself.1.01.811.840.345.34.270.81
All in all, I am glad I am me.1.31.013.542.541.84.220.80
Sometimes, I feel like my life has no purpose7.818.826.824.022.83.351.23
I feel I do not have much to be proud of1.025.536.317.810.52.931.11
At times, I think that I am no good at all.14.528.529.816.011.32.811.20
Overall mean     3.66 
        
 Never trueSeldom trueSometimes trueUsually trueAlways trueMeanS.D
Self-worth       
Some students  are pretty pleased with themselves0.540.537.37.314.53.610.83
Some students think the way they do things is fine0.838.539.37.014.53.590.84
Some students do like the way they are leading their life0.836.041.38.014.03.540.85
Overall mean     3.58 

In the confidence dimension, “when I am an adult I am sure I will have, a good life” had the highest mean it shows that they are optimistic toward future. In the self-worth dimension students were pretty pleased with themselves and had the highest mean because they are far away from some diseases such as depression, anxiety, and hopelessness. In addition, they are far away from some abnormal behavior such as suicide, an inferiority complex that causes many problems in the society. This study is supported from the previous finding45.

Competence

As shown in Table 8 in the academic competence dimension, “Some students can remember things easily” was the highest mean (M=3.68, S.D=0.89). In the physical competence dimension, “Some students don’t feel they can play as well” (M=2.49, S.D=0.87) was the highest mean. In the social competence dimension, “some students don’t have many friends” (M=2.57, S.D=.094) was the highest mean. In the competence dimension, academic competence was the highest mean (M=3.63).

Table 8 : Distribution of Respondents according to Competence in Percent (n=400)

CompetenceNever trueSeldom trueSometimes trueUsually trueAlways trueMeanS. D
Academic competence       
Some students can remember things easily0.335.835.38.020.83.680.89
Some students can do their University work quickly0.534.333.89.821.83.670.93
Some students can almost always figure out the answers00035.843.57.513.33.540.81
Overall mean     3.63 
Social competence       
Some students don’t have many friends2.326.345.510.515.52.570.94
Some students are not very popular1.028.545.58.017.02.470.90
Some students usually do things by themselves.0.534.336.38.820.32.350.91
Overall mean     2.46 
Physical competence       
Some students don’t feel they can play as well.                                                             2.035.842.37.013.02.490.87
Some students are afraid they might not do well at outdoor things they haven’t tried.0.532.837.010.019.82.380.92
Some students don’t feel that they are very good when it comes to sports1.035.038.85.519.82.330.88
Overall mean     2.40 

In the academic competence dimension students pay attention to their course and it is important for them, thus some students remember certain subject matters easily and it had the highest mean. In the physical competence dimension, “Some students don’t feel they can play as well” had the highest mean because they had high self-confidence and their motivations are high to start new activities. In the social competence dimension “some students don’t have many friends” had the highest mean perhaps related to behavioral sentiments like shyness or they have had depression, so other students should encourage them to communicate more and participated in group activities.

Grade

With regard to grade achievement under the dimension competence, highest percentage of the grade related to the “half B and half A” grade of 48.8 followed by “mostly B” of 18.5 % (Table 9). Most of the respondents had good grade its very good because help them to increase their self-confidence, find the better job for the future, continue their studies in higher level or in the other countries.

Table 9 : Distribution of Respondents according to Grade in Percent (n=400)

Grades                                             FrequencyPercentage
Mostly below D20.5
Mostly D10.3
About half C half D20.5
Mostly C92.3
About half B half C4912.3
Mostly B7418.5
About half B and Half A19548.8
Mostly A6817

Character

As shown in Table 10, in the personal value dimension, “accepting responsibility for my actions when I make a mistake or get into trouble” is the highest mean (M=3.94, S.D= 0.77). The findings showed that the big intensity censuses because responsibility is one of the most important behavior for the future such as job performance, family management, and in general living in the society. In the social conscience dimension, “speaking up for equality (everyone should have the same rights and opportunities” (M= 3.82, S.D= 0.84) was the highest mean and “giving time and money to make life better for other people” (M= 3.47, S.D= 0.84) was the lowest mean. The results showed that people tend to have freedom of speech and they want to participate in decision-making in the society, because of this speaking up for equality had the highest mean.

Table 10 : Distribution of Respondents according to Character in Percent (n=400)


Character
Not importantA little importantNeutralImportantExtremely importantMeanS. D
Personal value         
Accepting responsibility for my actions when I make a mistake or get into trouble0.81.823.351.023.33.940.77
Doing my best, even when I have a job I don’t like0.82.526.343.826.83.930.83
Telling the truth, even when it is not easy.1.52.523.549.523.03.900.83
Standing up for what I believe, even when it’s unpopular to do so.0.83.527.847.520.53.850.81
Doing what I believe is right, even if my friends make fun of me.2.04.026.348.319.53.790.86
Overall mean     3.88 
Social conscience        
Speaking up for equality (everyone should have the same rights and opportunities)1.53.526.548.320.33.820.84
Helping to make sure all people are treated fairly2.03.531.043.819.83.750.87
Helping other people0.86.526.851.814.33.720.81
Helping to make the world a better place to live in1.03.833.047.514.83.710.79
Helping to reduce hunger and poverty in the world2.05.534.841.816.03.640.88
Giving time and money to make life better for other people2.07.04239.39.83.470.84
Overall mean     3.68 
Value of diversity        
Getting to know people who are of a different race than I am4.09.839.837.59.03.379.23
 Not at all like meA little like meNeutralLike meVery much like meMeanS.D
Respecting the values and beliefs of people who are of a different race or culture than I am0.33.520.551.524.33.960.78
Enjoying being with people who are of a different race than I am004.527.352.815.53.790.75
        
Knowing a lot about people of other races1.54.337.546.810.03.590.78
Overall mean     3.67 
 Never trueUsually trueSometimes trueSeldom trueAlways trueMeanS.D
Conduct behavior       
Some students usually don’t do things that get them into trouble0.58.536.534.520.03.650.91
Some students usually like the way they behave0.38.832.842.815.53.640.85
Some students hardly ever do things they know they shouldn’t do0.37.844.038.010.03.490.78
Overall mean     3.59 

In the value of diversity dimension, “respecting the values and beliefs of people who are of a different race or culture than I am (M= 3.96, S.D= 0.78) was the highest mean and “knowing a lot about people of other races.” (M=3.59, S.D= 0.78) was the lowest mean. The findings showed that respecting beliefs of other people of different races had the highest mean because Malaysia is a multicultural country and people within society are to respect to each religion and culture especially it is important among youth.

In the conduct behavior dimension, “Some students usually do not do things that get them into trouble” (M=3.65, S.D= 0.91) was the highest mean and some students hardly ever do things they know they shouldn’t do” (M= 3.49, S.D= 0.78) was the lowest mean. In the character dimension, personal value had the highest mean (M=3.88) and conduct behavior had the lowest mean (M=3.59) (Table 10). As the results show, students do not do things that get them in trouble, had the highest mean because students want to have the behavior of an educated person, therefore they try to respect people, rule and regulation as a result it become their practiced behavior. The findings of the current study supported the previous study46.

Caring

In the caring dimension, “when I see another person who is hurt or upset, I feel sorry for them (M= 4.03, S.D= 0.84) is the highest mean and “I feel sorry for other people who don’t have what I have” (M= 3.56, S.D= 0.98) was the lowest mean. The results show that “feel sorry for the person who is hurt or upset” had the highest mean because youth are caring about other people’s feelings and their life was important for them. The findings support previous studies47 (Table 11).

Table 11 : Distribution of Respondents according to Caring in Percent (n=400)



Caring
Not wellA little wellNeutralWellVery wellMeanS. D
When I see another person who is hurt or upset, I feel sorry for them1.32.518.846.531.04.030.84
It bothers me when bad things happen to good people0.55.022.045.527.03.930.85
I don’t feel sorry for other people when they are having problems5.311.317.317.548.83.931.25
It makes me sad to see a person who doesn’t have friends2.33.325.540.528.53.890.92
When I see someone being taken advantage of, I want to help them2.55.320.846.325.33.860.93
When I see someone being treated unfairly, I don’t feel sorry for them5.815.016.517.345.53.811.30
It bothers me when bad things happen to any person1.34.833.538.322.33.750.89
When I see someone being picked on, I feel sorry for them2.06.828.046.816.53.690.89
I feel sorry for other people who don’t have what I have3.38.035.834.818.33.560.98

Connection

In the family connection dimension, “my parents give me help and support when I need it” (M= 4.49, S.D= 0.66) was the highest mean and “talk to your parents if you have an important concern about drug, alcohol, sex” (M= 3.02, S.D= 1.45) was the lowest mean. In the community dimension, “I’m given lots of chances to make my town or city a better place in which to live (M= 3.71, S.D= 0.90) is the highest mean and “In my town or city, I feel like I matter to people” (M=3.32, S.D= 0.87) was the lowest mean (Table 12).

Table 12 : Distribution of Respondents according to Connection in Percent (n=400)



Connection
Strongly DisagreeDisagreeNeutralAgreeStrongly AgreeMeanS. D
Family        
My parents give me help and support when I need it0.30.86.035.857.34.490.66
In my family, I feel useful and important0.51.514.037.546.54.280.79
I get along with my parents.0.82.511.339.046.54.2800.81
I have lots of good conversations with my parents0.51.016.038.843.84.240.79
My parents often tell me they love me0.85.522.034.537.34.020.93
        
 NeverSeldomOftenSometimesAlwaysMeanS.D
Would you talk to your parents if you have an important concern about drug, alcohol, sex or some other serious issues?21.519.812.826.519.53.021.45
Overall mean     4.05 
                Never trueSeldom trueSometimes trueUsually trueAlways trueMeanS.D
Peer       
My friends care about me.0.826.824.513.534.53.891.07
I feel my friends are good friends.1.027.322.814.334.83.801.09
My friends are there when I need them1.526.324.515.532.33.721.11
I trust my friends.1.026.531.013.827.83.661.05
Overall mean     3.76 
 Strongly DisagreeDisagreeNeutralAgreeStrongly AgreeMeanS. D
University       
I care about the University that I go to1.53.517.853.523.83.940.82
In my University, there are clear cut rules for what students can and cannot do.0.51.826.850.021.03.890.76
I get a lot of encouragement at my University.1.04.531.843.319.53.750.85
Lecturers at University push me to be the best I can be.1.55.829.546.017.33.710.86
Students in my University care about me.1.04.334.347.513.03.670.79
My lecturers really care about me.1.83.545.338.011.53.450.80
        
 NeverSeldomOftenSometimesAlwaysMeanS.D
How often do you feel bored at University?4.320.819.849.36.03.321.00
Overall mean     3.67 
 Strongly DisagreeDisagreeNeutralAgreeStrongly AgreeMeanS. D
Community       
I’m given lots of chances to make my town or city a better place in which to live1.06.832.839.020.53.710.90
In my neighborhood, there are lots of people who care about me3.07.836.838.014.53.530.93
Adults in my town or city make me feel important3.87.040.835.013.53.470.94
Adults in my town or city listen to what I have to say3.57.547.831.310.03.360.89
In my town or city, I feel like I matter to people2.310.849.028.39.83.320.87
Overall mean     3.47 

Twenty-six percent of the respondents sometimes talk about drugs, alcohol, and sex to their parents and 21.5 % of the respondents never talk about these issues to their parents. In the University dimension, “I care about my University that I go to” (M=3.94, S.D= 0.82) was the highest mean and “my lecturers really care about me.” (M= 3.45, S.D= 0.80) was the lowest mean. In the peer dimension, highest mean related to the statement “My friends care about me.” (M= 3.89 S.D= 1.07) and lowest mean related to the statement “I trust my friends” (M=3.66, S.D=1.05) (Table 12).

In the connection dimension, the highest mean was family (M=4.05) and community had the lowest (M=3.47). In the family dimension, “family give support to their children when they need it” had the highest mean because usually family care and supports about routine and simple matters of their children’s life such as school problem, problem in relationship with their friends. However, for serious problems such as drug usage, alcohol usage and sexual issues it is not discussed, its maybe because of culture, conservative beliefs, and parents that do not have enough knowledge or are not open minded.

In the community dimension, “giving the chance to build a better city” was the highest mean it shows higher responsibility among the youth to build the society in the future and develop their country. One quarter of the respondents talk to their parents about sex, alcohol, and drug usage but is alarming for the family and the society because if the youth has problems they may talk to their friends that maybe cause find the wrong way to solve their problems.

In the University dimension, they care about their University because they can choose their University, their field, also it shows they are satisfied about their University. In the peer dimension, “my friends care about me” had the highest mean it shows they had good relationships with their friends that prevent some diseases such as depression, anxiety and so forth. The findings of the current study support previous findings of the investigation on positive youth development48.

The Mediation Effect of Gratification and Internet Usage

The mediation effect of gratification of Internet usage was assessed by the path analysis. In this regard, the partial mediation model was designed as displayed in figure 1. The result of assessing mediation structural model fits indicated that the data fit with the model with: x^2(672) = 1566.565,〖 x〗^2/DF= 2.331, p=.000, AGFI= 0.787, GFI=0.816, CFI=0.822; IFI=0.824, RMSEA= 0.60. The RAMSEA was 0.60, which is fall between the recommended ranges (Figure 1).

Structural equation model for mediation effect of gratification of Internet usage

Figure 1 : Overall Path Model of the Usage of Internet and its Effect on Positive Youth Development (PYD) with Standardized Path Coefficient

The results indicate that there is no significant direct relationship between purpose of Internet and three dimensions of positive youth development. The relationship between purpose and competence, character, caring is not significant. However, the relationship between purpose and confidence is significant (B=0.171, p =0.028) with 17% degree of prediction, the relationship between purpose and connection is significant (B= 0.420, p > 0.05) with the degree of prediction 42%, the relationship between purpose Internet usage and gratification of Internet use is significant (B=0.394, p>0.05) with ability of 39% prediction according to the mediation model (Table 13).

Table 13 : Standard Estimate for Final Model

ItemsEstimateS.EP value
Purpose —–> Gratification0.3940.063***
Purpose —–> Competence0.0910.890.241
Purpose —–> Caring0.0650.4370.354
Purpose —–> Character0.1110.2170.087
Purpose —–> Connection0.4200.051***
Purpose —–> Confidence0.1710.880.028
Internet skill —–> Confidence0.0710.0510.250 
Internet skill —–> Competence-0.0240.0530.702 
Internet skill —–> Character-0.0230.1290.665 
Internet skill —–> Connection0.0530.2230.398
Internet skill —–> Caring0.0890.0540.117
Internet skill —–> Gratification0.0290.0340.608
Pattern of Internet usage —–> Confidence-0.0490.0110.417
Pattern of Internet usage —–> Competence-0.0470.0110.451
Pattern of Internet usage —–> Character0.5090.0270.016
Pattern of Internet usage —–> Connection-0.1030.0470.097
Pattern of Internet usage —–> Caring-0.0300.0110.590
Pattern of Internet usage —–> Gratification0.0730.0070.191
Gratification —–> Competence0.4510.114***
Gratification —–> Caring0.4580.113***
Gratification —–> Character0.3720.261***
Gratification —–> Connection0.2210.4310.002
Gratification —–> Confidence 0.5240.116***

                 ⃰⃰=0.01     ⃰⃰ ⃰=0.05   ⃰ ⃰ ⃰=0.001

The results indicate that there is no significant direct relationship between Internet skill and five dimensions of positive youth development. The results indicate that there is no significant direct relationship between pattern of using Internet and four dimensions of positive youth development. The relationships between pattern of Internet usage and confidence, competence, caring, connection are not significant. However, the relationship between pattern of Internet usage and character is significant (B= 0.509, p =0.016) with the degree of prediction 50% according to the mediation model. The results indicate that there is significant direct relationship between gratification of Internet usage and five dimensions of positive youth development. There is significant relationship between gratification and caring (B=0.458, p>0.05) with 45% degree of prediction; there is significant relationship between gratification and character (B=0.372, p>0.05) with prediction of 37%, and the relationship between gratification and confidence was significant (B=0.524, p>0.05) with 52% degree of prediction. However, the relationship between gratification of Internet usage and connection was not significant (B=0.221, p=0.002) with 22% degree of prediction according to the partial measurement model. The table 13 shows the significant relationship among all the variables those are highlighted in bold.

Conclusion

Based on the findings and results of the study, the following conclusions are drawn: A majority of the respondents had five to eight years of Internet usage, followed by Internet usage of between nine years and 12 years. The majority of the respondents are those who used the Internet less than 10 times a week. Majority of the respondents used the Internet less than 23 hours per week, followed by 24 to 43 hours a week. The first place for using the Internet among students is the University, followed by the hostel. These findings are consistent with the previous findings49.

Students had mixed gratifications for using the Internet. It means that they did not emphasize only one category of gratification. Based on the mean score of every factor among each type of Internet users “Cognitive” appeared to be the dominant gratification for using the Internet. These findings are consistent with the previous findings50.

Positive youth development has five dimensions with the first dimension being confidence. The confidence dimension is divided into two categories, namely positive identity and self-worth. In the positive identity dimension, appears to be the dominant confidence for using the Internet.

The academic competence dimension appears to be the dominant competence in the positive youth development dimension. Majority of the students get half A and half B in their courses. In the caring dimension, “when I see another person who is hurt or upset, I feel sorry for them” appears to be dominant in the mentioned dimension. The fifth dimension is related to connection, which is divided into five categories namely, school, family, University, community, and peers. The dominant dimension is University.

The current study confirmed the effects of gratifications of Internet usage as a mediation variable that affects positive youth development. The findings indicated the relationship between gratifications and five dimensions of PYD. Gratification has a relationship with caring, character, confidence, and competence. The results show that Internet usage affects PYD through the mediation effect of gratification of Internet usage. In addition, the relationship between problem in using Internet and connection in positive youth development is significant. The relationship between purpose of Internet usage and confidence in positive youth development is significant. The relationship between pattern of Internet usage and character in positive youth development is significant.

Some of the respondents suggested that cost of Internet usage should be decreased and instead increase the speed of Internet connection. They want the government to block some of the unethical and pornographic websites on the Internet. They desire workshops for elaborating and creating awareness about some of the negative aspects of using the Internet. They want free Internet connection for the students. They want educational workshops for professional users of the Internet. They suggested that companies provide software for detecting people who use pornographic websites. They want to be connected to the scientific sites and have easy access to scientific articles. In the purpose of Internet usage, some of the students mentioned that they used Internet for watching football match, dramas, cooking lessons, and blogging51. According to the results of this study, Internet has a positive effect on youth and increases their 5Cs and helps them to improve themselves via the media.

The authors are faculty members in Modern Languages and Communication, Universiti Putra Malaysia, 43400 UPM Serdang, Selangor, Malaysia

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