Accessing Global Information The Use of the Internet for Current Islamic and Non-Islamic Issues by Students in Solo, Indonesia

Main Article Content

Benina Gould
Yayah Khisbiyah
Jeffrey B. Gould



Internet use, an important portal for globalization, has grown dramatically in both Muslim and non-Muslim countries. Little is known about students’ use of the Internet to obtain information about current Islamic and non-Islamic issues. Sixty-one students ‒ ages fifteen to nineteen from three pesantrens, three madrasahs, and one secular high school in Solo, Indonesia ‒ were surveyed and classified as expressing conservative (twenty-seven), modernist (twenty-four), and moderate (ten) views. They were asked to recommend three Internet sites and the reasons for their choice. We found that regardless of student outlook the Internet was not a major source of Islamic or non-Islamic news. Fifty-five sites were recommended, indicating there were no universally popular sites. Students tended to favor sites that were in keeping with their views. However, all three types of schools had studentswith modernist, conservative, and moderate views.These findings support Indonesia’s uniqueness as a pluralistic society in the Muslim world. Although we found limited use of the Internet and a lack of uniformly popular sites in 2009, the Internet has the potential to influence young people in the future. It will be important to follow the patterns of use by Indonesian youth in pesantrens and other schools to assess if this pluralism persists or extremists’ sites grow in popularity.

Abstract 124 | PDF Downloads 20