The Middle East region includes the Arabic peninsula, Cyprus, the countries on the east coast of the Mediterranean Sea, Iran in the north-east, and Egypt in the south-west. It is a densely populated region that concentrates huge material and human resources. Surfing from Internet site to Internet site I have found that Internetworking in the Middle East region has a well established system that may accelerate the diffusion of culture in this area. For example, at the end of January Internet access across large parts of the Middle East was severely disrupted. Two undersea cables in the Mediterranean were damaged, leaving about 70 percent of Internet users in Egypt without access to Internet services. Egypt was hit by disruption. The Internet for the Middle East is a new opportunity to be more open to the global world and to acquire first-hand, unbiased information about global affairs, cultures, and lifestyles. In the Middle East, Internet has become an effective resource for developmental economic, political, and socio-cultural planning through mission oriented networks. I have consulted websites that provide information about Internet users in the Middle East. I have found that younger generation in the Middle East relies a lot on Internet services. However, access to the Internet is disproportioned and unequal.
Surfing the Internet is one of the favorite leisure activities in many Middle East countries where a young generation of digitally competent users has been established. Young people have a good chance of participating in online discussion forums, which encourages fruitful exchange of ideas Young Internet users learn how to democratize their ideas, responding to diverse opinions with respect and tolerance. Young Internet users in the Middle East become innovative and technologically advanced. The Internet satisfies their need for openness. Like young people all over the world, they enjoy personalizing.
The statistical data related to Internet services in the Middle East reveals the fact that, on the one hand, the Internet is rapidly developing in the region and, on the other hand, this development is not equal Internet users in the Middle East comprise about three percent of world users. It means that 46 million people in the Middle East are Internet users. On the average, the percentage of Internet users in the Middle East is approximately the same as globally. However, if we take into account separate countries, the difference is amazing. The highest Internet penetration is in the United Arab Emirates where half of the population has Internet access. The lowest Internet penetration is in Iraq where only one percent of population has Internet access. Internet penetration is high in Lebanon (39.5 percent), Iran (34.9 percent), Kuwait (34.7 percent), and Bahrain (34.8 percent), whereas it is extremely low in Iraq and Yemen (www.internetworldstats.com). Therefore, young populations in the region have no equal access to Internet services. In some Middle East countries young people are advantageous to be active Internet users, while in others they have certain limits.
In the Middle East, Internet is becoming a pervasive social force, since digital literacy means Internet access and less censored world outlook for younger generations in the Middle East. The Internet integrates the Middle East populations into the global world. Internet resistance is a step backwards to closed societies, whereas Internet access makes traditionally closed societies much more open ones. Digitally competent Middle Easters can judge themselves how their life is different from the rest of the world and what universal values are shared. Internet access provides Middle Easters with the freedom of choice that is a step forward towards democratization of Middle East societies.