The Internet: Friend or Foe?

Since its birth in 1990, the internet has revolutionized data transmission and communication. It’s easier– and getting easier-er– to share information than ever before, from scientific research to your latest selfie. The web is a great metropolis with a place for anyone and everyone. However, while it offers a wide scope of benefits, is it really on our side?

With the rise of the internet, online predators and con artists emerged. Because of this, many parents have reasonably expressed concern for the safety of their children. Vulnerable as they may be, children and teens aren’t the only ones being affected by internet scams and shams. Adults can fall prey to them in the same fashion, as they take on various forms. In most cases, they’re easily detectable and can be avoided. An email from a strange address stating that your “great-great-great uncle”–who you didn’t even know existed– died alone and left a large sum of money for you to inherit in a Dubaian bank is probably not that trustworthy. Likewise, you shouldn’t get too excited if you receive a message from someone named James who, by happenstance, looks a lot like Zac Efron. However, some of us may take the bait when we least expect it (see: virtually any Catfish episode). Though it has dangerous corners, the internet offers so much for inquisitive minds and meme collectors alike.

The internet is a tree of many fruits. It provides a wide range of free resources that are readily available at the click of a mouse or the tap of a button. Best of all, on behalf of modern technology, this can all be accessed in the palm of your hand. Free social media allows for easy communication both far and wide; free information allows for easy access to answers both simple and complex.

Websites like YouTube are packed with millions of communities that are committed to entertaining, teaching and showcasing. On this site, you can see the latest news, catch up with your favorite online creator or explore a new topic through informational videos.  The possibilities are bountiful. For individuals who can’t afford expensive textbooks or pricey applications, the internet offers free alternatives. For those who want to learn how to make gel nails with Sour Patch Kids as accents, the internet has their backs (thanks, Jenna Marbles.) With the expansion of communication and the push of knowledge, the online world has built bridges that some may have never thought possible.

Undoubtedly, the power of the internet can sometimes be misused, just like all good things can be used for bad. But sketchy emails and suspicious dating app profiles aside, the internet is a catalyst for conversation and change. It is a luxury that some people around the world can only dream of. Instead of catfishing your high school crush, start a dialogue online, share your ideas, express yourself–change the world.

 

Photo Courtesy of  “jeferrb” at Pixabay

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