In 1990, Tim Bernes-Lee booted up a computer and connected it to a server abroad using the World Wide Web, also known as the Internet. With that successful connection, the Internet was born. Since its inception, the Internet has cemented itself into our current generation, providing an instant gateway to limitless information and entertainment, all in a few clicks or taps. It is no wonder that the slogan, ‘the Internet of Things (IoT)’ has become popularised among the society of today. However, despite all of its pros, the Internet also has its downsides and disadvantages. What are they you may ask? Well, allow me to explain.
Firstly, the Internet comes off as a privacy risk. Whenever we visit a website, a “cookie” will be sent by the website’s server to you. This cookie is unique, it is like an identification card, it stores your information in it and sends it back to the server. That way, whenever you revisit this website, it will know exactly who you are. The information collected ranges from the name of your computer, your Internet provider, your location, your Internet Protocol address and so on. If someone manages to get ahold of one of these cookies, the Internet user’s privacy will be at risk. The information obtained can be used to do a whole myriad of unlawful acts. Impersonation, cyberstalking, all fall under the possibilities if this information is to land in the wrong hands.
Secondly, the development of an addiction to the Internet is also plausible. Research shows that society nowadays, especially teenagers, tend to use up to almost 8 hours of their day online. Whether it is just chatting with friends or doing research on a school assignment, they still fall under the category of using the Internet. As this goes on, people may develop an addiction and dependency on the Internet to satisfy their needs for knowledge and entertainment. As a result, television and books are being slowly phased out by society, with Internet taking their place as the primary source of entertainment and information. A worrying sight indeed.
Thirdly, the Internet encourages a passive lifestyle. A passive lifestyle is defined as a lazy, unproductive lifestyle. Before the days of the Internet, we would go out, have fun with friends, play games or even go for the occasional game of sports. All of this is done outside. However, with the arrival of the Internet, these things are starting to dwindle in number. Why? Because of the existence of the perception of how “the Internet has all that you need”. This produces a false sense of satisfaction, thus eliminating the urge to go out. It cannot be denied, that how everything can be done at the touch of your fingertips, is extremely convenient, especially during emergencies. But with this feature, humans have become lazy, to the point where they would rather stay at home and go online instead of outside with friends.
Finally, the Internet is a health risk. Whenever we go online, we are most likely facing a screen of some sort. Whether it is the screen of our phones or our computers, these screens will still emit radiation. The smaller the screen is, the more damaging the rays get. When exposed to these rays for a long time, our eyes will start to become tired. Without suitable breaks, it will then start to damage the eyes, potentially causing eye deficiencies such as myopia and presbyopia, also known as short and long-sightedness. It could also cause back and spinal problems, especially when we are online for a very long time. For example, imagine sitting in front of the computer for 6 hours, you would feel tired, your body will slug, thus adding pressure on your bones. If this goes on, problems such as scoliosis may start to develop.
In a nutshell, the Internet can be both great and bad. However, I personally believe that it will still boil down to how the user uses it. Whether good or bad, it cannot be argued that the Internet is a wonderful way to obtain information and entertain ourselves, but we must realise that these disadvantages must not be overlooked, as they could bring devastating effects on those who choose to disregard them. The Internet is a treacherous place, but by navigating through it and using it the right way, I am confident that the Internet will be a very welcome addition to our generation of future leaders.