Youth of Turkey Online - An Exploratory Study of the Turkish Digital Landscape

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This exploratory paper is part of a series examining the role of the Internet in the lives of youth living in the Central and Eastern Europe and Commonwealth of Independent States region. This report focuses on Turkey and bases itself on secondary evidence gathered through a desk review of relevant literature. The report first presents the technological context of Turkey and the peculiarities of its digital landscape. The Internet in Turkey provides a range of technological platforms to a population that exchange overwhelmingly on western-based websites. The next section investigates the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) by Turkish adolescents and young people. Research identified a number of characteristics unique to the Turkish digital landscape, including a persistent gender divide in Internet access and use, frequent visits to Internet cafes among males, and the popular use of sites such as Facebook and MSN. This report then discusses the types of safety risks faced by Turkish youth when navigating the Internet. Research shows that youth are facing risks such as cyberbullying, exposure to malicious software, sharing of personal information and exposure to adult content. The next section discusses government initiatives to monitor the Turkish Internet, and the extent to which such initiatives may infringe on the freedom of expression and the right to access information. The study concludes with the assertion that the challenge in the coming years will be to encourage a safe expansion of ICT opportunities to all sectors of the population, without infringing on personal freedoms.


Akshay Sinha

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