Internet’s Impact on Society
Many technologies were invented in the 20th century. However, the invention of the internet in the late 20th century marked a complete shift in human life and is considered the Information Age’s decisive technology. The internet has had both positive and negative impacts on the society. It has changed the way human beings operate and it has made both youth and aged people to adopt new ways of life. This paper delves into the benefits and shortcomings associated with the internet.
As a key positive benefit, the internet has increased people’s access to information and communication. In the pre-internet days, access to information was dependent on, among other sources, newspapers, magazines, radio, television, and films. An event occurring in one part of the world, such as in the Philippines could be reported to the rest of the world a day later. The internet has made it possible for an eyewitness to take photos and instantly send them to global news agencies, and to post it on social media sites. Therefore, people get news instantly, as it happens.
Furthermore, the effect of the internet on social life is tremendous. Social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, MySpace, among others have made it possible for family members and friends to constantly stay in touch. A daughter working in Guatemala can hold video chats with her mother in the U.S. on daily basis, making the two to feel closer. Perfect strangers can become ‘friends’ with other social site users at the click of a button. Social media has transformed social life, making people be more interconnected than ever before. Social media has also been used by law enforcers to raise awareness about situations in different places, such as informing the public about an accident that has occurred on a particular road, or a shooting incident at a given place. This makes the public to be informed and more cautious. Social media groups have also been used to raise funds in support of people in need.
Additionally, trading activities have transformed positively. The way business is conducted across the world depends largely, on the internet or ‘online.’ Unlike in the traditional world where items were bought and sold in physical stores only, the internet has made it possible for firms to run virtual businesses that dominate and control the global economy. Consumers can get information over the internet about the products they want to purchase before ordering items from Amazon, for instance. Many other large organizations have no physical stores and operate, exclusively, online. Moreover, online banking has enabled consumers to access financial services without setting foot in a financial institution.
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The internet has further opened more job opportunities across the world. Potential employers have been able to recruit competent employees by simply placing adverts on the internet. Surprisingly, it is cheaper and more efficient for a firm to find employees through online advertisements than to advertise on local newspapers, radio and on television. Additionally, the public has gained greater access to research capabilities due to such effective search engines as Google, and through online subscriptions. Without necessarily going to a library to research in books, one can get such information over the internet thus saving on costs and time wastage.
The internet has also impacted the society in a negative sense. Internet fraud, for instance, costs financial institutions and by extension, the global economy, billions of dollars annually. Hacking results in online banking details of many clients being compromised, resulting in the theft of clients’ money. In the same way, hacking of government and key institutional websites has brought about political, economic, and diplomatic spats as witnessed in the 2016 U.S. election. Such issues can result in inadvertent consequences, including war.
Another negative impact associated with the internet is spread of social evils. Pornography, for instance, has been taken to a whole new level as the internet is available on various electronic devices, including mobile phones. Youth can access pornographic material on their mobile phones, and this adversely affects academic performance, causes moral decadence, and impacts negatively on marriages.
Criminal activities have been intensified through the internet. Social media sites such as Facebook make it possible for criminals to form online groups and to communicate easily. They can instantly monitor, report, and share information pertaining to activities of law enforcement agents thus sabotaging government attempts to enhance security. Furthermore, the internet has increased the risk posed to individual privacy. When posting information and sharing pictures and details of one’s life online, a person can never be sure of who views such information. This poses a danger to his or her privacy and that of family members and friends.
In conclusion, the internet is a critical technological invention that has made a major difference in the way people live and experience life. The internet has had numerous positive impacts, ranging from financial and social impacts to political aspects. Negative impacts have also been pointed out in key areas that affect the society’s wellbeing.