Negative Impact of Internet
The internet has truly taken over the world. We see the signs everywhere. When was the last time we did not know absolutely everything that was happening all around the world?
When was the last time you actually called a friend and spoke for hours, catching up on everything that had happened to you since you met? When was the last time you went online and felt really, really safe?
The Extreme Dependency
The questions above are far from hyperboles. The internet has taken over our lives in a way that makes it difficult for us to live without it. Think for a moment what would happen if you were to find, on arriving at a hotel in an exotic destination, that there was no free WiFi- or any WiFi at all- and the network was really, really poor.
Widespread panic and irritation would probably be the order of the day. We had functioned without the internet for a considerable part of our lives, and our forefathers pretty much went without it, but that has not stopped us from becoming completely dependent on it. And this is what constitutes the biggest negative impact of the internet/technology.
Let us not forget what the internet has done to our attention spans. We are so attached to the internet that we need to check our phones and tablets every few minutes to check for new updates and notifications. Classrooms are constantly interrupted by phones beeping with notifications coming in.
We stop talking to the person in front of us as our attention is drawn to the interesting looking location a friend has recently visited. We stop in the middle of work to spend a few minutes on the cellphone, and soon it turns into hours, and the next thing we know, we are not prepared for the exam, or the assignment cannot be submitted.
Reduced Real Communication
The area of our lives that the internet has affected the most is certainly that of communication. True, it gas certainly made communicating with people so much easier, thanks to social media and other internet enable platforms. But think about it, has it really made us communicate more?
If anything, we are an ever more reclusive species that is also strangely exhibitionist. We hide behind the anonymity of the internet, secure in the knowledge that we can log off anytime, and speak to people at will. Slowly, we have turned into people who find themselves in an uncomfortable position when they have to actually communicate in real life with anyone.
This lack of communication as affected relationships on a level hitherto unthought of. Have you been to a restaurant and seen a couple, or a group of people hanging out together? Each one is more or less engrossed in their cell phones. Most of the conversation they have is to show something interesting they have seen on the internet, or about something a common friend has posted on social media.
The communication gap is only increasing as people tend to prefer to hang out online instead of in real life. And this, in fact, has affected relationships more than anything else. If you the dot spend so much time online, either on social media, playing games, or just generally surfing, you naturally devote a lot less of your free time with your loved ones.
The internet has made pornography very widely available. While that is not necessarily something negative, the uninterrupted availability does have some petty adverse effects. For instance, almost all of the pornographic websites require you to be 18 years of age to gain entry, but there is no security in place except for a question asking you to confirm that you are, in fact, an adult.
The websites are, in practice, restricted to no one unless parental controls and other filters have been put in place, and children and adolescents often take full advantage of this fact. And it is not just about pornography, children are being exposed to truly sensitive content that need not necessarily be hidden from them, but shielded only till the time when they are mature enough to see them. Pictures of death and destruction are extremely common in the internet, and it is prudent to keep them away from a child’s eyes till they grow up.
Peer Pressure & Jealousy
The internet has become the new television. It is where we come to know about new trends and get to see what the world around us is doing. And this makes us want to live a life that we cannot achieve or one that doesn’t suit us. Instances are not uncommon of people committing crimes to achieve the lifestyle they have seen their peers have.
We start having unrealistic expectations in every area of our lives- our lifestyles, our jobs, our spouses, the sex. The race that we run to achieve the impossible often leaves us bereft of what we have as we forgo spending time with our loved ones, and neglect our health.
If we are still not able to reach the desired destination, we are faced with depression and a feeling of inadequacy. Competition with peers has always been part and parcel of our lives, but today, it has taken itself u by many notches by the constant flaunting of happiness that we see on social media.
Threat To Finances
The internet has made us less secure than ever. We can now bank and shop online, and this has exposed our hard earned money to multiple security threats. As recent events have shown, banks have come under attack multiple times, and customers have lost the money they had in their accounts.
Such cyber attacks are difficult to trace and even more difficult to pin on a particular culprit. Take, for instance, the ransomware that has been doing the rounds recently. These are powerful enough software to detect the smallest of glitches in another, possibly stronger software, and use that glitch to infect a system.
Threat To Personal Security
And it is not just our money that is being threatened. The internet, thanks to the anonymity provides, has given rise to a whole new bunch of cyber bullies and cyberstalkers, people who are no less dangerous than their counterparts in real life.
These bullies attack their target and harass them online; this becomes harrowing since such bullies are difficult to trace. Sexual harassment has also taken a dangerous form online; incidents of girls and women committing suicide because a jilted lover exposed compromising photos and videos on the internet are not uncommon.
Of course, it is important to know that the internet has given us untold benefits. It has certainly made life a lot easier for us as it is no longer simply a tool to find information and connect with people; it is equally important for getting directions and conducting our financial transactions.
We are not yet in a position to judge whether the internet has given us more than it has taken away, but we can certainly assume that at present, the scales are pretty much balanced.