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Free Internet for 150k Young Adults: A Double-Edged Sword?



Free Internet for 150k Young Adults: A Double-Edged Sword?

One of the most controversial measures in the 2024-2025 Budget is the provision of free internet for individuals aged 18 to 25. The question on everyone’s mind is: what will they do with it? Will they use it responsibly or indulge in surfing adult websites or social media? How will this measure be implemented, and what are the concerns of those who matter most?

The Alliance PTr-MMM-ND, which has promised to make internet access free for all once in power, has taken a different approach.

The Minister of Finance has targeted the young generation, announcing a free internet package for those between 18 and 25.

The appeal to witness on has garnered several comments, with some questioning the utility of this measure, which seems to be aimed primarily at winning over this demographic.

“I don’t think it’s necessary,” said Kami, 21, believing that many young people already have internet access at home for their studies.

“And if it’s for education, it should have been targeted more towards those who are still in school.” Others are skeptical and link this measure to the re-registration of SIM cards, as Cris points out.

“Free internet means re-registration of SIM cards… And they’ll use these data to track everyone.”

Clyde took a more realistic approach, arguing that the priority should have been given to those who are struggling to make ends meet.

“Everything is expensive. And we’re giving out free internet packages? Do you think it will change anything in their lives? We could have given them monthly allowances that would have had a greater impact on their future, like opening a bank account to invest in land or a house later.”

Alvin, on the other hand, joked that this measure will allow young people to become “influencers on TikTok.”

Vincent, however, considered a more serious issue at play. “While this initiative may seem positive on the surface, it is crucial to recognize the problem of addiction to smartphones and social media among our youth.

This measure could inadvertently exacerbate this ‘hidden pandemic’ within Mauritian society, affecting young people’s productivity even more.”

Vincent further highlighted the psychological consequences of excessive smartphone use, including addiction, sleep disturbances, and increased risk of chronic pain.

He apprehended that this initiative could have unintended societal consequences that may have been overlooked.

Another concern raised is the quality of connectivity once it becomes free. How will the government ensure that the internet is fast and reliable? How will they control the usage of these young adults?

The statistics are clear: there are 150,000 Mauritians aged 18 to 25 who will benefit from this measure. The authorities must now address these concerns and provide clarity on how this initiative will be implemented.

Will this measure live up to its promise, or will it become a double-edged sword? Only time will tell.

Source: l’Express

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