The advent of the computer and the Internet had sharply shaped the lives of people in most parts of the world. Powerful data processing power had been heaped upon us, in fact so much power than the ordinary person will ever need. The Internet has made available vast amounts of information that can be had at the click of a mouse. The marriage of the computer and the Internet has facilitated the way that we communicate with other people on Earth.
Thanks to the improvement in computer and communication technology, we can now make a face-to-face conversation with someone who may be on the opposite side of the world. With ready availability of portable cellular phones, we can talk with anyone in the world at anytime wherever the person is. With smart phones getting cheaper, it is predicted that gadgets will become the major device that will be used to access the Internet. The social networking sites in the Internet have literally transformed the world into a global village.
Influences may not all be Positive
Without doubt, the computer and the Internet have brought about useful benefits that have made our lives easier. Our communication is being carried out throughout the world at speeds that boggle the imagination. Going to the post office has become one of our former activities that had become extinct. Land line telephones will soon vanish from the face of the earth. Online shopping may in the future become the rule enabling people to perform basic economic functions without ever leaving the comfort of the home.
But not all consequences of technological development are positive. There are harmful effects that we should be careful of and we should start thinking how we could minimize or counteract these harmful negative effects. These are my observations that are intended to open up some conversation regarding the issues in the hope that some measures may be developed to mitigate any negative effect that may render our iives less fulfilling or sub-optimal.
Culture of Violence
Most computer applications fulfill satisfactorily the common needs of people and are worthwhile having. Examples are word processors, spreadsheets, and electronic mail. Computer games that are designed as learning tools for children have given parents a useful tool in introducing their children to interesting ways of learning language and computational skills. However, a few computer games may provide entertainment but could expose children to inappropriate behavior. Indulging in violent computer games could inculcate undesirable ideas that can inadvertently find their way in real life. It may promote violent behavior in teens and children, thus creating problems not only for the family of the children but also for the whole community. We must find ways and means to counteract this culture of violence which can be abetted through exposure to violent media and computer games.
Over Dependence on Gadgets
We are becoming more and more dependent on our gadgets. When our gadget is lost, we act bewildered as if something vital is missing from our lives. Without our gadgets in our hands, we feel that we cannot function normally. Imagine for example if suddenly you lost your cellular phone. You cannot even telephone your house because you have forgotten your house's telephone number. We have succumbed to the habit of laziness, assured that we always have our gadget to turn to. There is so much information that we need to have stored in our minds but did not because they can be stored in our gadget anyway.
I think that we should commit to memory, vital information that can prove useful in times of emergency. What if something happens and our cellphone is out of battery or inadvertently misplaced? There are even Internet applications that enables everyone to store information on servers maintained by big Internet companies. What will you do if you need this information and you happen to be in a place where there is no Internet connection?
The ready availability of information may encourage laziness in our mental and physical habits. After all, we can normally get the information that we need at the flick of a switch. Even for menial tasks that we need to undertake, we sometimes have to connect to the Internet to make sure that we are sufficiently guided. As a result, our minds are not sufficiently challenged and could in time degenerate due to lack of use.
Deprived of Opportunity to Exercise
Before the advent of computers, we need to move about physically to find the information that we need to successfully perform the task at hand. We needed to make a call, visit a neighbor who might know, or go to the library to find information materials that could help us do the job correctly. Today, we just sit down and turn on our laptop. We sometimes spend an inordinate amount of time in front of the computer, depriving us of opportunities to go outside and flex our muscles. Regrettably, this could later exert a negative influence on our health and well-being.
Have you noticed that there are fewer and fewer children playing around in the neighborhood? Where could these children be? They would most probably be sitting in front of their computers playing games of chatting with friend in the Internet. What would become of these children when they grow up? Playing outside is not only physically healthy for children but it also affords them the opportunity to build confidence and social skills. There is danger that we could become a nation of socially inept individuals who will become more and more isolated from one another.
One More Place to Ply their Nefarious Trade
Crooks have been around since humankind inhabited this Earth. They have previously used letters and telephone calls to dupe unsuspecting victims. Now they have another place with which to engage in their deceitful activities. Welcome to the dark side of the Internet. Perhaps you know of someone who had become victim to the so-called identity theft, a high sounding name for stealing another person's hard-earned money. You have surely received electronic mail containing scams designed to dupe you into parting with your hard-earned cash. Or, you could become a victim of dysfunctional individuals bent on destroying your good name in cyberspace.
The Internet is a strange place indeed, where somebody could do almost anything behind the veil of anonymity. It had been conceived under the principle of free flow of information but unfortunately the freedom that it affords also makes it susceptible to abuse. Perhaps a global law enforcement agency needs to be established and tasked with ensuring that the Internet is not used for causing any mental, physical, or economic damage to anyone. The world has a wealth of creative minds who can develop a lasting solution to this problem. Governments around the world should take responsibility for this problem and launch a concerted effort to stop criminality on the Internet. We should act now or criminal elements may soon take over this wonderful human invention.
Read my other article on how economic disparities are reflected on how the Internet works at: http://sites.google.com/site/thetechnicaljournal/how-economic-disparities-are-reflected-on-how-things-work-in-the-internet.
Read my other article on the leveraging power of the Internet at: http://sites.google.com/site/thetechnicaljournal/the-leveraging-power-of-the-internet.
Read my other article on the deteriorating quality of information that can be obtained from the Internet at: http://sites.google.com/site/thetechnicaljournal/the-deteriorating-quality-of-the-information-that-can-be-obtained-from-the-internet.