Young Palestinians embrace social media

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Young Palestinians embrace social media

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The internet has made the world much smaller.

For young Palestinians, it has led to a growing hunger for news beyond their walls. Around 40 percent of those in the Palestinian territories are under 14 years old.

In East Jerusalem, it is the younger generation who are mainly filling the area’s cyber cafes. Computer screens provide young people with the closest they can get to a window on the world. Those surfing are well read on developments around them, including the Arab Spring.

“I chat with my friends from outside, from Egypt, Jordan and Gaza,” 17-year-old Ahmed said. “I see what they’ve done and how much they have suffered. I tell them what the occupation is doing to us.”

“We use the internet to go on to social networking sites like Facebook, to find out what’s happening in Egypt and Tunisia,” 16-year-old Amir added. “We know that the young people started their demonstrations on Facebook.”

For many young Palestinians, the internet has become a big part of their life.

“Now the internet is very important in my life, in our life. A very important let me say ‘weapon’ to give somebody freedom,” said Haled, another internet user.

Some teenagers go to cyber cafes every day and spend up to two hours on the internet. But it is not just about keeping in touch through technology, cyber cafes have also become a meeting place to reflect on world events.