This age is often termed as internet age. Internet has revolutionized our life in many ways. It has changed the way we communicate, interact, shop, play and even think. Information availability, social interaction, banking, shopping and many more easy avenues through internet have made our life much easier than before. It seems internet has great power to touch our life but as is often said, “with great power comes great responsibility”. If the power of the internet is not used properly and responsibly it can turn against you. A simple click on an unsuspicious mail or uploading and sharing your personal information with strangers over the internet can absolutely ruin your life in many ways. There is a constant debate over the negative effect of the internet far outweighing the positive effect, if not used responsibly.
Information Warehouse or Spoon-feeding Your Imagination
Internet is a storehouse of information. From cooking tips to study materials, from weather reports to the list of second hand furniture, from health related issues to global news, internet stores every piece of information we want. It is true that the easy availability of information has made our life convenient. If you don’t know cooking, there are myriads of recipes all over the cyber world to turn you from an amateur to an expert cook. You are stuck with an assignment and you need some notes for help, the entire cyber space is there to feed you with whatever materials you want. But this easy access to information not always works in our favor. It affects negatively on students who in order to complete their assignments instead of relying on their own understanding and cogitation make use of the easily available information on the internet, thereby compromising with their thinking capability. Too much reliance on the internet will ruin their cognition which might lead to a far-reaching effect in future when they won’t be able to do anything putting their own imagination to use.
Real World vs. Addiction with the Virtual World
Besides being a storehouse of information, Internet offers a lot of virtual activities including games, movies and videos on YouTube, social networking and video conferencing to keep one glued. People who only see the benefit side of the internet argue that social networking is a nice platform to keep in touch with friends and colleagues and I concur with that but one cannot deny the drawback of social networking. People become so engrossed chatting over the net making virtual friendship that they turn oblivious to reality. They become so addicted to chasing the virtual pleasures that their real life friends and family are ignored. One can have hundreds of friends on a social network but handful few in real life. This addiction to social networking, playing online games and other such non-productive activities over the internet hampers the constructive side of people. There are students spending hours in playing games. If they would have shown the same dedication and enthusiasm for something constructive, they would have shined with brilliance. Suffice to say addiction is a negative influence casting a pall over the benefits of the internet.
Internet, a friend or an enemy?
According to some people, cyber world may be a virtual reality, but it helps loners find ways to engage themselves. There are many people around the world including old people, widows or widowers, childless couples and terminally ill bed ridden patients whose world is restrained within the boundary of four walls, finding company with the use of internet. But internet gives as much as it takes away. So on one hand we have these lonely people doting on the internet but on the other hand, internet has been found to be a place of exploitation in the form of cyber bullying, viral sexual videos and frauds. If one is not careful enough, he or she is likely to embroil in the labyrinth of the curse. A Texas college student Anna Combrink who was allegedly raped by three of her classmates was subjected to further humiliation and mental torture by having a video of the sexual assault made viral on the internet which ultimately resulted in her committing suicide 8 days later. There is a multitude of similar cases like hers where women have gone through the same traumatization. Not only cyber bullying, there are numerous incidents of internet frauds that have ruined the lives of the victims. Some of the most common type of internet frauds includes identity theft, winning of an unknown foreign lottery, purchase frauds, money transfer fraud, charity fraud, dating fraud, PayPal fraud and phishing.
Opening A Gate to Knowledge or Pornography
Internet helps students a lot in terms of completing their assignments and projects, gets into video conferencing out of the comfort of one's home on urgent matters and so on. Now while we cannot undermine the advantage of these usages, we also need to acknowledge the negative side of it. Internet with its plenitude of advantages offers a lot of disadvantages one of which is the easy access to pornography including child pornography. Children can easily dupe their parents in the name of studies and explore the pornographic sites which earlier in the absence of the internet were not possible. There are many sex offenders looking for a prey in the cyber world and a gullible mind can easily be laid into their trap. Instances of teens forced into pornography through cyber fraud are increasingly common these days. Further, internet being unregulated offers a platform where pedophiles and sexual perverts download and post anonymously whatever they want. Child pornography ruins the idea of childhood and it's extremely illegal, but still it is all over the internet due to the lack of law enforcement, it is a means used by pedophiles to blackmail children and cause harm beyond our imagination.
Intruding into Our Personal Space
People with one sided view of seeing internet as a boon only argue that internet undoubtedly has made our life convenient. Nowadays one doesn't need to rush to a shop to do shopping as plenty of online shopping facilities are right there to help you order products at the click of a button. You can pay your phone bill, electric bill, water bill and a host of other bills online. You can purchase movie tickets, electronic goodies, food and almost everything over the internet. You don’t need to visit bank anymore to draw money or keep a tab on your account. You can do that sitting right out of your home. But I believe that all these convenience and facilities come with a heavy price and that is intrusion to our private life. Internet is vulnerable to hacking. One may hack into your account, fetch all the private information about you and misuse that in his advantage and to your disadvantage. Hackers are very smart and their skill and intelligence they can put to use to ruin anyone's life in ways beyond our imagination.
Like so many things, internet is another tool discovered by mankind to make life easier. In the hands of a scientist it can blossom and in the hands of a criminal it can help destroy thousands of innocent lives. It is not the tool that is good or bad; it is we who make it good or bad by using it for such purposes. In this current revolution of internet we have evolved in such a way that internet has become a great weapon in the hands of bad people. Hopefully sometime in future we will have more protocols, security and policing over the internet to detect, capture and punish people committing cybercrimes. Till that time we have to be extremely cautious with our usage of internet and its fancy functionalities.
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