The internet is arguably the greatest invention ever made by
man. More people everywhere are getting even more dependent on this technology.
A 2017 study by the International Telecommunications Union estimated that about
48% of the world’s population use the internet and this number is steadily
rising. This is not at all surprising given the broad prospects that exist from
One massive benefit of the internet is the ease of access to
information. There is an endless supply of information that enables one to learn
about virtually any topic or subject. Online search engines like Google can
assist to find the answer to virtually any question by accessing the countless
data uploaded on servers by individuals. Learning is also easier with sites
like YouTube that contains videos and tutorials that help to explain various
topics, possibly even better than a physical lecturer could!
It is not uncommon to hear people refer to the earth as a
“global village”. What this references is the ease at which people can
communicate with one another despite being miles away. This only became
possible with the advent of the internet. E-mails and online forums have been
used at length to aid communication. More recently, instant messaging has been
fine-tuned and is now widely used by the majority of persons.
The earth as a “global village” can also be used to reference
the ease of getting knowledge of new places and terrains. With the help of GPS,
maps and directions to almost every place in the world can be gotten. It has
therefore made getting lost considerably harder. Today’s search engines are
also smart enough to know your location and even the searches related to your
Entertainment, making money, shopping, banking, internet of
things; all these are other fields that the internet has helped make easier and
more effective. This is not even considering the number of jobs the internet
has created on its own or the ease of applying for jobs. Donations and funding
are easier now. It is easier to mobilize a large number of people for a
particular cause online with online petitions. Registration for institutions of
all kinds has been made easier also, with the data collated without much fuss.
Surveys can be done with ease and are even quicker. Generally speaking, we
would be far worse off had the internet not been invented. With the abundant
blessings the internet has given, there is the dark side of it. And I am not
just talking about the ‘dark web’ even though that could also be classified as
There are major disadvantages of using or over-using the
internet. One such disadvantage is cyberbullying. Bullying has always been a
problem in society, even before the internet. However, one deterrent to this
unruly act was publicity; these bullies might be less inclined to exhibit this animalistic
trait in public. But with the internet, it has become unnervingly disturbing
that these bullies can easily get someone’s contact details and send disturbing
content to such one. Internet trolls and stalkers now roam free on the
cyberspace, on the prowl for their next victim of spam mails and disturbing
content while going undetected. The deep web has become a haven for criminals
and questionable characters to go about their shady dealings undetected.
Cybercrime has become even more rampant nowadays and is even glorified in some
While access to information is a good thing, unrestrained access
to too much information can be a serious issue. Minors run a great risk of
being victims of accessing questionable information. This information includes
but is not limited to violent and pornographic media. Given the ease of posting
just about anything online, misinformation is now a serious risk. Fake ‘facts’
abound online, and one who is not careful runs the risk of internalizing this
false information if proper background search is not done.
Users of the internet also tend to be addicted to it. Given the
amount of entertaining material that can be found online, one could become
extremely caught up in surfing the web in a quest for more entertaining
material. This results in one spending outrageous amounts of time on frivolous
matters instead of attending to more pressing issues. It can also hamper work
productivity, making the addicted party distracted from work possibly by taking
excessive breaks to check up on petty stuff.
The internet can also cause health issues. It can lead to
depression, loneliness, and social isolation. In the age of social media, where
everyone seems to be doing well online, people can easily fall into depression
when they compare their not so perfect life with that of others. Also, one
might become so caught up with these online friends that real-life friends are
overlooked, causing loneliness when the internet is not at one’s disposal.
Physical health issues might also come up – spending excess time in front of a
screen might take away time for healthy activities like exercising, leading to
obesity and an unhealthy lifestyle.
While it has its disadvantages, the internet remains an
invaluable tool. Therefore steps should be taken to protect oneself from the
undeniable dangers that exist from its usage. The following are some tips to
- Before sending confidential information over the internet including bank details, care should be taken to first verify that the website is secure. This can usually be verified to the right of the address bar or the bottom right-hand corner of the page with a small closed lock. If the lock is open, the website is probably not secure. Also, check the URL (Uniform Resource Locator) begins with “https”.
- Always use a strong password for any online accounts. It is recommended that you use a different password for each different website you have to sign in to. To make your password more secure, use random alphanumeric characters while toggling between uppercase and lowercase letters in between.
- Do not hesitate to block any person who tries to bully you online. Social media sites have the option of questionable accounts to be reported and consequently deleted. Make sure to utilize this to the full.
- Always verify any information you see online before spreading it. There are some reliable websites that trustworthy information can be gotten off. Use them.
- Monitor your internet usage. Do not let your device control you, instead control your device. Observe intently your routine and try to identify any signs that point to an addiction to the internet and work on it.
- Talk to your children and wards about the dangers of the internet and try to monitor their usage. Thankfully, some sites allow parental guidance. Use this if possible.
Use the internet, but do not be used by it!