The invention of the internet in 1983 has changed how our world functions and how we as people function within it forever. Across all aspects of life, the internet is now a vital part of living, whether it is used for online banking, food deliveries, applying for jobs or even house hunting.
The creation of web2.0 in the early part of the 21st century led to the incredible growth of social media, which has completely altered how people interact with each other and the world around them. The internet has changed our lives both for the better and perhaps for the worse.
Here are some different ways in which the internet has improved our lives and ways in which the internet may have created issues in our lives.
Thanks to the speed with which anyone can contact anyone across the globe now, communication has never been easier. Whether this is for work or play, the world has quite literally become a smaller place due to the internet. Not only does this keep relations with people easier to maintain, but also allows global information and events to be shared in seconds. This has led to a greater understanding of world events and communication between different countries and cultures.
Education is more accessible now than it ever has been. It only takes a quick Google to find a seemingly endless number of educational resources and answers to almost any question. Academic resources are also becoming more available, with academic journals being published online for free access. This means that everyone has access to information that before the internet would have taken hours to find, speeding up the entire learning process and potentially creating time for further studies.
Furthermore, the ease with which people can now generate and publish video content has even brought the lecture theatre into the home – we need only look at the rise of TED talks to see how popular this format has become.
Online culture has amalgamated cultures from around the world into one place accessible to all. In turn, this has created its own online culture also known as cyberculture. This encompasses the use of the internet for entertainment, business, and recreation, all of which are home to thousands of cybercultures. For example, online gaming is considered to be one of the largest cybercultures, with players able to communicate with each other and form online friendships. On top of this, the commercialisation of gaming has created a multi-billion-dollar industry which has led to thousands more jobs worldwide.
Although it has undoubtedly become a thorn in the side of bricks and mortar retail, the convenience afforded by ecommerce has revolutionised the way that we shop . . . and the way we think about shopping. Whether it’s ordering household goods from Argos or B&Q or even ordering prescription medications from as PostMyMeds, we have never known customer service like it.
Detachment from the real world
One of the drawbacks of the internet becoming such a pertinent part of our lives is undoubtedly the proliferation of misinformation and disinformation.
This has become more of an issue as algorithms have been developed and perfected, meaning that users of the internet and social media are presented with media tailored to their personal actions and beliefs. Indeed it is easier than ever to find oneself in an echo chamber that reinforces beliefs that appear to be based in fact but often are not.
Exclusion of the elderly
Despite the internet being created in 1983, it only became as popular as it has become in the early 2000’s onwards. Therefore, there are multiple generations who are not as well versed in online skills as those who grew up with the internet are. As the internet has permeated into almost every aspect of our lives, to function within modern society one must have a base knowledge of how to use the internet.
For older generations this can be extremely isolating and create difficulties. For example, a lot of appointments for services, whether these are for doctor’s appointments, eyesight testing, or buying tickets for events, require internet access. The assumption that everyone has access to the internet means that those who do not can easily miss out.