Surfing through the Internet — the new content of teenagers' spare time

Franci Pivec (IZUM, Institut of Information Science, Prešernova 17, 2000 Maribor, Slovenia)

Aslib Proceedings

ISSN: 0001-253X

Publication date: 1 April 1998


The appearance of the Internet brings changes into social context and into the cultural and moral experience of people. This applies especially to teenagers, who are attracted to the Internet much more intensively than other sections of the population. Cyber Cafes are their favourite places of meeting and at the same time gives the opportunity to study their behaviour. Since this is important for getting to know a significant part of the users of our activities as a bibliographic utility, we organized free access to the Internet in our institute. This article presents the results of the inquiry conducted among the visitors over a longer period of time. We compared our findings with similar researches in the world. “The Net is my culture, my tribe if you would. In many ways it is the only place where I feel at home”. H. Hardy / A long time ago, in 1938, H. G. Wells predicted the “establishment of a world brain”: “This World Encyclopaedia would be the mental background of every intelligent man in the world. It would be alive and growing and changing continually under revision, extension and replacement from the original thinkers in the world everywhere. Every university and research institution should be feeding it. Every fresh mind should be brought into contact with its standing editorial organisation…. It would do just what our scattered and disoriented intellectual organisations of today fall short of doing. It would hold the world together mentally. ” Of course the Internet is not such a consistent unity but rather a “chaotic mishmash ”, which nevertheless gives the impression of an all‐embracing brain that lives and grows from within itself and where you have to be close by if you want to belong to civilization. What will be the most intriguing and valuable is in fact the variety of messages, which was stressed with a special reason by Ben Goedegebuure at the FID 100th anniversary: “We will measure scholarly achievement in a different manner than before, since text will be only one dimension of a person's knowledge and not, as in today's world, the only dimension.” However, it's not good to look upon the Internet from the serious side only, since it requires a lot of good will, patience and above all time. And we have to be careful all the time not to fall into a trap, such as mentioned by Robin Ruskin (according to a sincere confession in PC Magazine, 26th April 1994): “If I was ever in close competition with another scientist, and I wanted to get a year ahead, I'd just go out and buy them a computer.” Something like that cannot happen to the participants in our story because they are very young and they have all their lives in front of them. Besides, they don't take their occupation with the Internet deadly seriously but rather as amusement in their free time, because they like it and because it is different from everything else they have to do.


Pivec, F. (1998), "Surfing through the Internet — the new content of teenagers' spare time", Aslib Proceedings, Vol. 50 No. 4, pp. 88-92.

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