The Societal Impact Of The Internet. Essay, Research Paper
In our modern society, technology has impacted our lives in almost every aspect imaginable. Our life style has become one of the new eras, dealing substantially with strands of new technology each day. If you would stop for a moment and graze upon memories from your relative past, you too can see what an impact technology has had, as well as the evolution it has undertaken. Ten years ago people could not have imagined how different their lives would be. Today many households contain at least one personal computer. The simplest of things have all changed on account of newer, better, faster and more efficient forms of advanced technology. A primary focus can be taken alone on the impact computers have had in our changing world. But I as a student would prefer to narrow the scope even further, as to analyze the impact the Internet has had upon people and their lives.It is safe to assume that almost everybody has heard about the Internet, and many have experienced it. The Internet is a conglomeration of worldwide networks linked together, which we as users have public access to. The very beginning of the Internet consisted of four main computers linked together, which they called the ARPANET (Shelly-Cashman,7.3). The U.S. Department of Defense funded this initial network. These computers where nothing like the Internet we know of today, they simply transferred information in a very crude fashion, but still it was the beginning. The main goals of this first network were to create a system of linked computers across an area of land, which would be run even if one of the four computers malfunctioned. The second purpose was to allow scientists to share knowledge and data across the given area of land (Shelly -Cashman,7.3). Today the Internet ranges across the globe, containing information far beyond that of which it s creators ever imagined. Originally the Internet was suppose to contain only that information concerning the sciences, but as it evolved, the entertainment purposes of the users became noticeable. To date, the Internet contains information on almost any subject, place, etc. Advantages of the Internet are its speed, capacity and low cost. These very characteristics are the ingredients to the reformation of our society, as technology advances, people have become more eager to receive the most possible, in the least amount of time for the lowest amount of cost. The Internet has allowed our world not only to expand, but the Internet has added some unique twists to the world we now live in. Twenty years ago, if you needed to get background information on a particular topic for school, work or leisure, you had to do it at a library, or similar facility, which only allowed you access during their business hours. Today society has entered the Information Superhighway. This name is commonly associated with the Internet, as it is the beginning of something that has never been seen before. One can get information, give information and pass it along to someone else in a matter of minutes. People have access to shopping, other people, information and other places. The Internet allows us to increase our communication channels with others around the globe, share what they offer, and displace it further throughout the network.In addition to these great advantages the Internet offers us, there are many disadvantages that correspond. Increased communication has both benefited our society, as well as hurt it. The Internet has bred a new generation of crime and unconfined malicious information.When a user logs on the Internet he has the choice as to the information he/she chooses to view, but the disadvantage is that there is a huge amount of information on the Internet that if applied incorrectly could hurt many people. A perfect example can be seen in the recent catastrophic mass murder in Littleton, Colorado. The two boys who committed this gruesome act had been sharing their plans over the Internet with others, plans that included how-to messages for creating explosives. Other messages they sent contained life-threatening comments directed at fellow peers of their class whom they did not like. These types of usage on the Internet are what have created a new era of criminals. Ten years ago, there where not any Internet crimes, people didn t even know what that term meant. Yet in today s society the impact of the Internet can be seen on a daily basis in newspapers, magazines and media. Internet crimes range from computer fraud to murder. Authorities have had to learn to deal with this new criminal element. The main concern with the Internet is that there is no real agency or group vested to control it s content, therefore allowing the user to be completely free as to what they read, or supply on the Internet itself.
In addition to the more severe disadvantages to the use of the Internet, the Internet has also created Internet junkies, people whom spend extended periods of time on-line. In a study conducted by Viktor Brenner of the University of Buffalo, Viktor attempts to define the terms of Internet addiction, as well as devise statistics to appoint to this new phenomenon. There are people whom are logged on the Internet all day, if not all night, losing sleep, causing disturbances in family life, and losing touch with other real people around them due to their addiction to the Internet. Although Viktor s study was not completed, he stated that many are addicted to chat rooms, porn sites and web surfing in general. It would be interesting to see the end conclusions to this study, because being an Internet user I could see how many people could become addicted to the Internet. The information highway has very few boundaries; Internet addiction is definitely a possibility.In analyzing the Internet and its disadvantages, one can clearly see that it s advantages far out weigh it s disadvantages. The Internet is also responsible for many great accomplishments as well. It has provided the world with a 24-hour department store, endless entertainment and improved channels of communication as mentioned earlier. The Internet has made people in some cases millions of dollars, through the use of electronic trading of stocks and other securities. Not to mention that it has provided Internet Service Providers such as America On-line, Netscape and Bill Gates (Microsoft) each with their own small fortune. The Internet allows users to place orders for purchases, research products and sell products with the simple touch of their mouse. Aside from the things it has to offer in the retail and finance industries, the Internet has given people one of the greatest advantages of all, that is increased communication, at a very low cost. You can log-on and speak to friends and relatives around the world, even meet new friends in places you never heard of. In addition this has allowed increased communication for businesses to use as well. As identified in an Internet related article, businesses are now using the Internet to communicate instead of the phone. The cost endured by the Internet is far lower than the costs of the use of phones, faxes and mail. The simple reduction in paper use alone would save companies thousands each year. If you can send e-mail, why pay postage, if you can scan a document why pay fax charges, and if you can videoconference why pay for a phone call? Businesses have learned to use the Internet as a tool, a very valuable tool indeed. The cost of Internet services for the average user is about $20 per month, there is no way anyone could beat this price if they used the fax to send messages, or mail a memo each time they just needed to say hello to a friend. As the Internet continues to grow and evolve so will we as users, developing into whatever the Internet shapes us to be. The complete impact of the Internet is difficult to asses, because it is still changing, but In fact, one of the things that may be lost in the unending stories about the Internet, Internet companies and Internet [users] is that this really is a revolution – but like most truly major changes, it is a revolution measured in decades, not weeks and months, and no one, including the most direct participants, really knows how it will change our lives (Burns) BIBLIOGRAPHY PAGE 1. Discovering Computer 98; A Link to the Future. Shelly, B. Gary, Cashman, J. Thomas, Waggoner, A. Gloria, Waggoner, C. William. Shelly Cashman series 1998, (page 7.3).2. Internet is a revolution for the ’90s . The Dallas Morning News, Copyright & copy 1996 The Dallas Morning News All Rights Reserved, 08-04-1996, pp 1H.3. Are You Addicted To The Internet? . Newsbytes News Network. Copyright & copy 1996 Newsbytes News Network., 02-12-19964. A Broken Society. The London Free Press. Final Edition, Editorial/Opinion Section Copyright & copy 1999, from The London Free Press.