The internet is a powerful tool that can be used for good or evil. It is up to each individual how they choose to use the internet. Disadvantages of the internet include feeding addictions, wasting time, and risking personal safety. Advantages of the internet include up to the minute news, research at your fingertips, and contact with friends and family who live far away.
One disadvantage of the internet is that it feeds addictions such as gambling. Websites exist where people can play poker and bet real money. Often, the people using these websites are addicted to gambling and cannot afford to lose money.
Another addiction fueled by the internet is shopping. It is so easy to shop at millions of stores online with just a click of the mouse. In minutes, people spend entire paychecks shopping online. EBay, Amazon, and Overstock.com are just a few examples shopping websites.
Surveys show that many people admit to spending hours online each day. Some people stay up most of the night on the internet. This is a disadvantage when people need to work the next day. These individuals either miss work or perform poorly at work due to the lack of sleep.
Another disadvantage is that with the amount of personal information online, it is becoming easier for the wrong people to locate your information online. Stalkers, ex-spouses, ex-girlfriends, or ex-boyfriends can easily find your address and telephone number online free or by using a paid background check website. This endangers personal safety when the person locating your information has a history of violence against you.
The internet updates news sources constantly. This is an advantage for those who enjoy keeping up with the latest news. The internet is the fastest way to keep up on the news. The internet often has news before television, radio, and the newspapers. Examples of reputable websites include ABC, NBC, CBS, and CNN.
Another advantage of the internet is the wide availability of research. Individuals research on the internet for a variety of reasons. Some may need research for a school project, personal knowledge, or for their job. Research is available on many topics including diseases, history, law, and education. It is best to use reputable websites such as scholarly journals, government databases, and professional journals. These websites contain information from experts in the field you are researching.
Websites that accept contributions by users such as About.com and Wikipedia are not reliable as anyone can contribute to these websites and the contributors may not be legitimate experts. The information provided on these sites may not be accurate and then you risk a poor grade on an assignment for not having correct information. If you use nonprofessional websites after graduation in a major project at work, your career may suffer, as you will appear unable to conduct research.
Technology such as webcams, social networking sites, and instant messaging allow friends and families who live across the country or across the world from each other keep in contact in real time if both parties are logged in at the same time. When families are separated, this is a convenient way to keep in touch.
Analyzing the advantages and disadvantages of the internet will assist me in making wise use of the internet in the future. I will try to set my security settings on social websites to private, keep track of how much time I spend on the internet, and monitor myself so that I do not become addicted to the internet or develop unhealthy spending habits on the internet. I will make sure I use reputable research sites such as those available through my college library, to educate myself on current events, and to keep in touch with my family members living far away. Analyzing the advantages and disadvantages of a topic will help me make good decisions in the future. Examples where decision analysis can help me include which classes to take, which job offer I should accept, and where I should live. This critical thinking exercise taught me how to look at an issue from all sides.