The internet is computer based global information system. It is composed of many interconnected computer networks. Each network may link thousands of computers enabling them to share information. The internet has brought a transformation in many aspects of life. It is one of the biggest contributors in making the world into a global village. Use of internet has grown tremendously since it was introduced. It is mostly because of its flexibility. Nowadays one can access the internet easily. Most people have computers in their homes but even the ones who don’t they can always go to cyber cafes where this service is provided.
The internet developed from software called the ARPANET which the U. S military had developed. It was only restrict to military personnel and the people who developed it. Only after it was privatized was it allowed to be used commercially. The internet has developed to give many benefits to mankind. The access to information being one of the most important. Student can now have access to libraries around the world. Some charge a fee but most provide free services. Before students had to spend hours and hours in the libraries but now at the touch of a button students have a huge database in front of them.
They can have online discussions with other students as well. There is another aspect of the internet-internet chat. This has opened a doorway to the world. One can talk to people of different nationalities and get to know about their culture and traditions. Problems can be discussed with them. This is especially useful for people who have relatives abroad. It is more expensive to call and talk to them through a normal phone line but the internet has almost done away with that too. Online chatting and voice conferences provide a cheap outlet. One can also see ones loved ones online, all this happening at the same time.
This includes electronic mail and online chatting. The internet has brought new opportunities to government, business and education. Governments use it for various processes such as distribution of information and internal communication. Businesses use it to sell and buy products online and also to interact with other businesses. New business opportunities have sprouted because of the internet. Auctions take place and sites like ‘e-bay’ provide the opportunity for everyone to put their things on auction. Companies use it for electronic commerce, including buying, selling and providing customer service.
They also use it to access complex databases. Educational institutions provide online courses. This has proven to be very helpful for those people who have jobs or can’t go for further education. Housewives can do courses by applying from their homes and at the same time look after their kids. It also provides an opportunity to those students who do not have many facilities in their country or cannot afford to go abroad and study. LSE (London School of Economics) is one such institution which has an external program and one can do while at home.
Students can carry out online conversations with professors and other fellow students abroad. Online lectures also take place through video conferences and one can see ones professors too, making a sort of online classroom. Media and entertainment companies use the internet for online news and weather services and to broadcast audio and video, including live radio and television programs. Although there are many benefits of the internet, it has also been abused in its usage. The major part is pornographic material being easily available on the internet. It is readily available to anyone who has access to the internet.
Programs have been formed to stop or infiltrate the information that one is receiving but still there is no way all sites can be blocked because the World Wide Web is a ‘huge world’. This sort of material has a real bad effect on the minds of people no matter what the age. Governments should take strict action against such sites and especially parents should see what their children are viewing. There is also a certain loss of privacy because now most people store all their information on the computer and when you connect online, anybody can hack ones computer and get into it.
This had already been done with many e-mail inboxes. Sites also have been hacked leading to major mishaps. Sending a virus on the Web has also been another way that people’s computers have been infected. Online chatting also has its own hazards. When one is talking to strangers one does not really know who they are. They can be just anybody pretending to be someone else. Many cases have been reported of child abuse happening this way. There is no way of verifying who the other really is. Many industries have also suffered a loss, especially the music and movie industry.
Movies and songs are available for free on the internet which has affected the sale levels of artists. People make their own cds and sell them. The phone industry has also suffered because more people are making calls through the internet. Students have also abused the internet by copying other people’s assignments and passing them as their own. And there is no way teachers can really catch them because they may have taken it from anywhere on the internet. The internet has been abused in many ways but its use cannot be undermined. Its benefits far outweigh its disadvantages in my view.
As the internet continues to grow many challenges have to be met. The growing traffic on the net provides a major hurdle. As more people log on, more highways have to be developed for smooth surfing. There also have to be new laws passed to control the type of information flowing on the internet. Security measures have to be tightened. The most important factor is that people need to be educated on how to use the internet for their betterment. No matter how much governments control, until people develop a conciousness matters will not improve.