Advantages And Disadvantages Of The Internet: In the past, we lived based on the assumptions and influences from within our immediate environment. People were primarily influenced by the happenings around them, and they had little to no knowledge about life outside their immediate environment. This has changed drastically in this 21st century. The most influencing factor responsible for this change is the Internet.
The internet is an interconnected global computer network providing varying information and tools for easy communication operating on standardized communication protocols. The internet has turned the world into a global village, offering individuals the limitless opportunities offered by interconnectedness and swift communication exchange within a grid. The advantages and disadvantages of the internet are numerous, and a few will be discussed here.
The impact which the internet has on an individual at every material point in time is however dependent on the manner of usage of such individual. The internet has the potential of offering numerous benefits as well as demerits by its use. The one it offers to an individual largely depends on that individual.
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Advantages of the Internet (Merits)
The advantages of the internet are limitless and the possibilities it offers are endless. A few of these and how they affect the well-being and development of man and society are discussed below.
1. Communication/ Connectivity: One of the major advantages of the internet is that it ensures and promotes communication and connectivity between persons. The internet allows for the interconnectedness of different computers, thereby allowing for ease in communication by users. People who are in different geographical locations and time zones can with a click of a computer connected to the internet, communicate with one another.
The gap that used to exist before now as a result of the distance between people has been filled quite effectively with the presence of the internet. Also, people no longer need to wait for a long period of time before their messages are transmitted to the desired recipient.
2. Unlimited access to Information and Knowledge: The internet serves as a veritable tool for learning and accessing information. Million of users are constantly uploading contents which can be accessed and viewed by a almost anyone. The internet therefore serves as a hub for storing useful information which can very easily be accessed by users.
Also, the need to gain access to information from a structured and formal institute of learning physically is no longer attractive as it used to be. People are now capable of learning and tapping into the knowledge of experts from foreign climes without leaving the comfort of their rooms.
3. Business Facilitation: The 21st century businesses are those which thrieve on the internet and involve the use of technology. Different business models are developed on a daily basis, allowing persons to earn money with the use of their computers and the internet.
Doing business using the internet entitles a person to have access to a large number of potential buyers and in some ways, disposes the need for a physical space and resources for that.
4. Means of Entertainment: Life is supposed to involve a balance of work and play. There is no better platform to get a desirable amount of play with little to no discomfort and cost than the internet.
Also, music, movies and other artistic works are opened to the internet user for little or no cost. All of these makes it quite difficult for people to experience boredom as they can be constantly connected to tools for entertainment.
5. Remote Work: The internet ushered in the possibility of doing work, whether professional or otherwise, without even stepping out from one’s house. In situations where it is not convenient for employees to get to their places of work, they can still work effectively and efficiently with the aid of the internet.
They can easily get access to work tools and resources without being physically present in their offices.
6. Improvement in Health, Education, etc: The internet has also offered a great improvement in the health sector, education sector, energy sector among others. These sectors leverage on the limitless opportunities offered by the internet in ensuring that improvements and innovations are made from time to time in these sectors.
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Disadvantages of the Internet (Demerits)
While the advantages offered by the internet are numerous, there are some disadvantages which its use also expose users to. Some of these disadvantages are:
1. It promotes Addiction: The tendency of being addicted and distracted by contents uploaded on the internet is almost unavoidable. The use of the internet has made lots of people addicted to their phones and to constantly trying to communicate with people who are far from them, by so doing, not creating time for those who are close to them.
Also, the internet causes lots of distractions to people when they have important tasks to work on be it at work, school or with friends/family. People spend unimaginable amount of time on the internet without entirely being productive.
2. Tool for promotion of Crimes and Vices: The internet also serves as a tool used by people in carrying out criminal activities and vices. It has become very easy to perpetuate and cover crimes through the security offered by the internet.
Also, because of the different layers provided by the internet for covering illegal activities, these people are hardly ever apprehended.
3. Tool for Bullying, Trolling and Stalking: Due to the unlimited amount of information available to the internet users about the lives of other users, it is sometimes used as a tool for bullying, trolling, and stalking.
A total stranger can now get unlimited information about a person, even with respect to matters that should be private. Also, it serves as a ground for trolling and stalking people who would ordinarily want to be left alone.
4. It provides an opportunity for constant comparison: The internet allows us to have an idea about how a person’s life is fairing. And this knowledge sometimes leads to unnecessary and unhealthy comparison between the persons’ life and our own life.
This in most situation is not ideal and may push a feeble-minded person to having a moody day or even committing suicide in extreme situations.
5. Exposure to negative content: The internet offers unrestricted access to information of any type. This allows for exposure to negative content which in some situations may adversely affect the life of an individual.
There are instances where contents are age restricted, but these restrictions are hardly ever adhered to. Pornographic and alarming graphic contents are daily displayed on the internet.
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Just like every other major tool for societal development, the internet has its advantages and disadvantages. The manner of usage and the purpose of usage will determine how useful the internet may be, or how destructive it may be.
Edeh Samuel Chukwuemeka, ACMC, is a lawyer and a certified mediator/conciliator in Nigeria. He is also a developer with knowledge in various programming languages. Samuel is determined to leverage his skills in technology, SEO, and legal practice to revolutionize the legal profession worldwide by creating web and mobile applications that simplify legal research. Sam is also passionate about educating and providing valuable information to people.