Internet and Society
The Internet is a system of computer networks. It is also a forum for human interaction supporting a new and unique culture. Recently it has also become a medium for popular commercial enterprise. With so many different types of users, there is a large diversity of information quality and quantity on the Internet, and there is no ruling body that determines what gets on it. Anyone who understands and has access to the necessary technology can put anything on it. This provides a wonderful means for free and open communication between people worldwide. It also makes quality control impossible.
Unlike print, which took hundreds of years to influence our culture, and television, which gradually affected us more and more over the course of several decades, the impact of computers and the Internet is affecting us over a much shorter period of time.
In modern society, the Internet increasingly provides vital information about life that may corroborate, contradict, or supplement learning that takes place form first-hand experience or information provided second-hand through interpersonal sources.
The attitude about the Internet and computer-mediated communication is somewhat different. Optimists point out that the Internet offers gateways to education, culture, self-improvement and social contacts, that the net is a means for enlightenment and increased democracy. Today’s children face a bewildering proliferation of technologies in a new media environment. The World Wide Web holds great promise for improving their lives. There are online and interactive services which could spawn a new array of offerings (Friedman, 2000).
Others wonder if many children and adults have come across material on the net that has a negative impact on them. Blaming technology for problems is meaningless. Technologies are neutral; they can be used for good ends or bad ends. However, it is true that the more powerful technology, the greater the potential for greatness or tragedy.