How Does the Internet Influence Society Nowadays?
The internet is one of the most revolutionary technological innovations of all time. It has led to a radical shift in the way people lead their lives. Almost all aspects of people’s lives have been affected by the internet in one way or another. Today, most people can attest to the fact that their education, business and even social lives have felt the impact of this novel innovation (Thompson, 2009). Most businesses would report huge losses were the internet to fail for a few hours. The internet has affected society in many ways and it would be an exercise in futility to try and enumerate all of them. However, the ultimate aim is to explain some significant effects of the internet to modern society.
No other sector has been affected by the internet more than the education industry (Takahashi & Narita, 2002). The invention of the internet was necessitated by the need to share information (Takahashi & Narita, 2002). The search for information and knowledge is now easier than ever. Students no longer need to go to a library and peruse through numerous pages of voluminous books in search of information. Thanks to online search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing, a student can access a lot of information from anywhere in the world with a few clicks of his or her mouse. Distance learning via online correspondence courses is becoming the norm rather than the exception (Covington, Paprock, & Williams, 2002). The value of the internet in educating individuals cannot be underestimated. The online community has developed several free tutorials, some in video format, which can go a long way in helping students in their quest to acquire knowledge. While this is highly desirable, some scholars argue that it has removed the human element in education (Covington, Paprock, & Williams, 2002).
Businesses have been greatly impacted by the internet. It is now too common for people to do much of their shopping online. With sites such as eBay, Amazon and Craigslist, online purchase has seen tremendous and unprecedented growth since its inception a few decades ago (Wartman & Aleman, 2009). Most businesses recognize the need to integrate online customer service interfaces to their systems. Almost all businesses nowadays have a website where customers can get more information about the company, conduct business and seek help (Thompson, 2009). Online banking and money transfers have become increasingly popular over the last decade. Advertisements, once exclusively reserved for the print, television and radio media, have gained immense popularity on the internet. However, the increase in online business transactions has also set the stage for a new form of crime – cybercrime (Wartman & Aleman, 2009). Criminals have found a novel approach to conduct their malicious activities for selfish gains. Sitting behind a computer screen with sophisticated tools, a techno savvy individual with malicious intent can engage in theft, extortion, forgery and other forms of crime with relative ease.
The internet has also revolutionized the way people interact and hence their social lives. Instant communication between two or more individuals or entities is now possible regardless of their geographical locations (Wartman & Aleman, 2009). Email has made older communication means, such as post, almost completely obsolete (Thompson, 2009). The advent of social networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace and Bebo has made it easier to keep in touch with friends and family (Wartman & Aleman, 2009). Dating sites enable lonely hearts find their soul mates. Thompson (2009) states that 1 in every 6 men in America has met at least 1 woman online. Online forums and threads enable individuals with a common interest to conduct healthy debates.
In conclusion, various effects of the internet to modern society have been explored. The education industry has experienced rapid growth and unprecedented change of teaching methods. Online search engines, distance learning, and online educative materials have all changed the way students learn. Businesses have also greatly benefited from online transactions that include buying and selling of goods and services as well as online advertisements. Cybercrime is an unfortunate consequence of online business transactions. Finally, the role of the internet in changing people’s social lives has been highlighted. However, it should be noted that the main emphasis has been on the positives of the internet. Several demerits of the internet such as the erosion of the moral fabric that holds society together due to the increase in online criminal activities such as child pornography have not been discussed.
Covington, B., Paprock, K., & Williams, M. L. (2002). Distance learning: The essential guide. Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc.
Takahashi, L. G., & Narita, K. M. (2002). The internet revolution and its impact to modern education systems. New Jersey, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Publishers.
Thompson, G. V. (2009). Dating and marriage: How to maintain a healthy relationship with your partner. Salisbury, MD: Beacon Publishers.
Wartman, K. L., & Aleman, A. M. (2009). Online social networking on campus: Understanding what matters in student culture. New York, NY: Taylor & Francis Group.