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A web without a spider: the impact of the internet on society

Posted by: | October 27, 2014 | No Comment |

The internet. It’s influence is undeniable. People everywhere around the planet are logged in and almost unknowingly succumbing to the role it plays on their lives, certainly more so than any other social medium since the invention of the newspaper. Essentially, it has created kind of a revolution in society, allowing people from all over the globe to communicate and express the themselves in any way they please. It has also changed the way the world treats people, causes, and thought. The net has forever altered society and to this day still remains a major clout om the human condition.

However, in my opinion, the internet has had a particularly noteworthy impact on certain aspects of society more than others. The truth is that although the internet has had a humongous bang on all corners of modern civilization, the simple fact of the matter is some blows have been bigger than others. Hence, the purpose of this blog entry.

I will now go over the different (and in my opinion, the most important) aspects in which the internet has affected society. For clarity and brevity’s sake, I have narrowed down the assorted qualities that have been affected by the internet to a list of five: Freedom of speech, the balance of power, anonymity, working from home, pornography, and e commerce. Allow me to continue.

Freedom of Speech

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The Internet allows anyone who may not have the courage, or in whose locale it may not be acceptable, to reach out to others with their beliefs and ideas. This means that people who have a certain view can promote it without being worried about others laughing or holding prejudice against them: the Net provides places where they can find other people who agree with them. The only adverse effect is that beliefs that are illegal or socially unacceptable such as child pornography, neo-Nazism, racism, etc, can be broadcast through the Net with little or no censorship.

The Balance of Power

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Society has also changed on the Net in the balance of power. The power members of society: celebrities, professional criminals, fashion setters, etc (all these people have been given their power through their titles) become much less powerful than they are in real life. The social group of advanced computer users, geeks, nerds, dweebs, hackers (they have many names) have a much larger power on the Internet because of their knowledge of its mechanics, and not just a position they have been given.

Anonymity

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What is perhaps the most remarkable affect the internet has made is on the way in we communicate with others. For many, the Internet is a savior of face, for it hides the simple traits of age, looks and class. It can allow people to gain positions and gain friends that they would never otherwise have the chance to in real life. For example, the maker of the popular online fantasy game Parallel Universe is only 19 years of age, but he has managed to construct, on his own, a large online game with hundreds of users. He has managed to deal with servers, acquire banner ads, reply to hundreds of emails and fix bugs in his game all by himself. If he had gone to a software development company and was employed to work on a game; he would likely be shunted to a far less important job than core design and coding. This shows how the Internet can give someone a great deal of experience and social status (among players and coders who like his game).

On the BBC Television show Making a Genius a young boy was mentioned who acted like a boy of his age in conference and public, but when he communicated via email he came across intelligent and like an adult. Some adults were unimpressed by his intelligence and do not think it was actual intelligence because they had not spoken to him via email. This is another example of how the Internet can break the barriers of age and social class.

Working from Home

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The workplace is becoming increasingly stressful for many people, with longer hours, polluted air in big cities, and so on. The Internet offers an alternative. Some businesses are starting to allow their employees to work at home for two to four days a week, sending their work in via e-mail or a direct connection to their company’s Intranet. Working from home has many advantages:

You can take short breaks for snacks and relaxation
You don’t need to pay for childcare
You save money on fuel by avoiding driving to work every day
You can start when you like – early or late
However, this system only works for computer-oriented jobs and it can also result in people not doing the work at all and just staying at home and watching TV, and even increasing their stress by leaving work until the last minute.

Pornography

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Society is increasingly accepting of sexual material, and the Internet has increased that: it is saturated by domain names with a sexual nature, owned by pornography web sites that charge a small entry fee. These sites allow people to view pornographic material anonymously, without being called a pervert, or being embarrassed by purchasing sex magazines. Whether this will enhance people’s sex lives and attitudes to sex, or make people only think about sex and result in more sex-related crime, is unknown at this stage.

E Commerce

From the number of television advertisements for internet shopping sites today, we all know that shopping is becoming a strong enterprise on the Internet. By selling items over the Internet, companies can save money on employing shop assistants, buying shops and land, administration costs and a many other things. The advantage for us – the shoppers – is that the shops then sell their goods at lower prices and are able to buy many more of the ’embarrassing’ items without being starred at in a busy shopping center.

However, because it is cheaper to run Internet sites, and less staff are needed, the workforce suffers. If a company went into complete Net integration, hundreds of jobs would be lost because a small team of people can run an Internet site. Another bad factor is that people will not leave their homes to go out shopping, so they will not socialize in or around shops, get needed exercise, or help their local economy. Many shopping sites are international so their profits may not be going into your country’s economy at all.

Conclusion:

Stated simply, what impact the internet has on us is up to us. It is here to stay, whether certain people like it or not. People cannot decline how big a part of our lives it is and how addicted to it we really are.  To summarize, all we need to do is to make sure we are controlling the internet, and that it is not controlling us.

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