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Some say the internet is a good thing. It allows people to interact over great distances bringing us closer together, when disaster strikes it gathers more support and donations than entire countries do themselves. It can build a relationship, a friendship and even rivalries. Freedom is eternal on the internet, free speech truly is free and oppression is impossible. Shopping has never been easier, a click of a button and have your groceries delivered to your door or need that rare item? You will find it online, the use of ebay for unwanted items is now commonplace â€“ it is as such an online yard sale. Is this the future?
Others say the internet is a bad thing. It brings out the worse in us, degrading and sexual depravity â€“ porn of all sorts, ranging from child to animal to same sex; all at a few clicks. It can breed hate; religious, racial hate sexual hate or hate of an individual; it has the power of misuse to allow fanatics to stir the waves of religious and racial hatred or to create weapons of destruction. The internet is not safe, you can be robbed of your money without the perpetrator even setting foot within your home. It can be used to follow someone, to reveal their life's intimate details even to destroy and ruin them. To control and watch the public from behind closed doors, the governments can control what we see hear and know. Is this the future?
Which do you think is correct? Is the internet a great thing or a bad thing? Are all the above true, can evil be spread via phone lines and a computer? Can love? Is a relationship born from the internet as good and strong as one in person? Or is hatred as strong?
Personally I view it as a mixed blessing, the ease it allows us access to stuff â€“ online shopping, or friends. As well as opening a new dimension to a good thing it also opens one to a darker side of humans; the access to pornography and designs for weaponry online. Or ways to spread hate via sites or even to steal online. For each good side there is a bad side of the coin too; for me it is a balance and depends upon who uses it and how.
That's a really interesting question. I think the internet is best described (to me anyway) as a poor quality simulation of life that makes some things easier and faster, most notably communication. As such it is both good and bad. Every single thing you mentioned in your good and bad categories happen IRL too, just faster or with less realism on the internet.
So my answer: It's a simulation of the world, so you might as well ask is the world good or bad?
PS My answer to that is no, but people's behaviour can be. Depending what your values are of course.
I believe that the internet just IS, it is neither good nor bad, it is the people who frequent and use the internet that are good or bad. Afterall, even the "good" internet sites, like ebay, can become problematic if the person using it doesn't understand some basic guidelines. Case in point, my 15-16yo cousin (I don't know him very well), recently bought a surfboard on ebay, he has no income, no transport, and no beach near by; why did he buy it? It looked cool, now his parents are having to sort out the problem. Religious sites can also cause problems, because religion has so many diffferent ways of understanding and systems of belief, schism is inevitable, and can lead quite easily to hate.
Even those sites that many consider "bad", like porn sites, have their benefits (and not just for the bank balance of the site owner). Whatever fetish it is a person has, there is a good chance that it is available online, because many countries do not have the same decency and acceptability laws that most western countries do. This allows these people to indulge in their fetish without harming or disturbing anyone else in the community. Other groups have less access to willing partners, for whatever reason, these sites allow them at least some degree of sexuality and sexual relief.
You cannot judge the Internet solely on one person's view of it. If you find an idea or a section of the internet offensive, you can do one of three things. 1) Ignore it 2) Be offended and tell everyone how offensive it is 3) Use a net nanny style program to prevent it appearing on your computer. The easiest solution is of course to ignore it. If you choose to proclaim it's "evil" to the world you will only bring attention to it, increasing it's "fanbase", not really what you wanted in the first place. The netnanny option is generally an exercise in wallet protection, and when you consider the "Ignore" option, more of a hassle for the same result.
Does that all make sense? I hope so, but that's one of the problems of the internet, it's not always the best way of expressing ideas.
Mysterious Member of the ANZAC Clan
Yes, I have mixed feelings on it myself. It is essentially a tool like a hammer, you can pound nails and build a house with it, or you can hit someone on the head with it.
In our life, it does make us educate our kids on its bad side, so at least they know what to look for, and to understand that just because it is on the internet, doesn't mean it is true.:wacko:
It sure says something about Man's nature by the amount of certain types of stuff on the 'net.
"A love for tradition has never weakened a nation, indeed it has strengthened nations in their hour of peril."
Sir Winston Churchil
I think the internet has the morality of a loaded weapon; none.
Only the people that use it can be labelled good or bad.
It can be used or abused.
Just my 2 cents.
Last edited by Joker; January 26th, 2006 at 21:33.
Kudos to everyone whose posted so far, nice points all round.
I think people have a choice to make about the internet, and it's not black and white either, there is a continum of thought which can be accepted, and people really just have to hammer out for themselves where they stand.
On one hand, you have the presumption that people have the right to say and think as they please. This is, at least theoretically, one of the keystones of our society. We can't just censor other people's thoughts merely because we disagree with them (I know our society does, but this is the continum I'm talking about.) Theoretically, I am 100 percent supportive of personal freedom. But I realise that there are problems with implimenting this in the real world, which is why, in most people's minds, at least, it needs to be balanced with the need to protect vulnerable individuals. I believe in freedom to the extent that, for example, I'm prepared to accept people looking at images the majority of us would find disgusting, or putting across opinions many of us would find unacceptable.. if it wasn't for the fact that people, on the ground, are being affected by them. Child pornography might actually be quite healthy for the viewer, allowing him to safely excercise an unacceptable fantasy without resorting to acting it out in reality. But somewhere, a child is suffering to create that fantasy, and most of us would agree that that child does require an element of protection.
I don't know all the answers, though I lean strongly towards the liberal end of the spectrum. I'm wary of anyone who wants to deny me information, but at the same time, I'm not callous enough that I'd want people to be hurt or killed so that I can indulge my moral perspectives about freedom, so I'm not going to disagree if anyone feels differently. They have a point, after all.
Well, like all tools the internet is both a blessing and a curse.
From a research perspective, it is simply awesome. You literally have the world's research, papers, and information at your fingertips.
The problem is that it is dependent on the user to find reliable information. For example, if you were to look up "weight loss" on Pubmed (The US National Library of Medicine website/search engine) you would find thousands of research papers and articles of the highest quality on the topic, with an excellent level of reliability. Now, if you did the same search on google, you would get millions of potential sites, with few reputable sites. You know what I mean, the "herbal remedies" which have no data to back up their claims, only anecdotal stuff that was likely fiction to start with. The problem is that the USER must decide how reliable the information is, so there is a lot of misinformation thgat exists out there. Furthermore, there is no " internet fact-checking" device, so the only limit to creating a web site that is just as prominently displayed as Pubmed is only the bandwith and a programmer.
That's just one example, but the crux is that there is a lot of cr@p out there, you have to sort out the good info fromm the mis-info
Marion: You're not the man I knew ten years ago.
Indiana: It's not the years, honey, it's the mileage.
For the last time, there are
NO FEMALE SPACE MARINES!!!!!
Personally I don't see it as cut and dry as good and bad when it comes to the internet. For me the internet on its own is more neutral than anything else, but at the same time its also an extension of each person like an arm or leg. Like a person's limbs, it is only as good, bad, or neutral as the person using it.
(Gotta bring this up in debate class today, great topic to discuss...)
Take my love, take my land, take me to where I cannot stand; I don't care I'm still free, you can't take the sky from me.
"The difference between gods and daemons largely depends upon where one is standing at the time."- Lorgar
Member of the Fluff Masters Clan
An internet identity is not the same as your usual everyday identity. The person you get to know only by their words and expressed opinions, is not the same as you would know if you were able to speak face to face with them, read their bodylanguage and just feel them in real life.
My internet identity is Gerbrith, but very few of you know about my nationality, my stance on everyday things, or what I feel is moraly important in my life. Few of you know what I look like, and few of you know when I am happy or sad. None of you know why I was gone for a month now, and then suddenly return.
The thing is, what I say on the net, in posts like this one, has been thought through more than what I say in daily life. Often, in daily speech, we say things that we regret later on, or which, as soon as they came out of our mouths, we wished we could retract.
Noone here has ever witnessed me angry or witnessed me unjustly fanatic about anything. I usualy look at things from several perspectives before taking a stance and I usualy express my views in a civilized manner. But in daily life, I don't always take the time to think about things carefully, or to calm myself down so I do not even show sarcasm in my speech.
I don't know about you, but having an internet identity is, to me, like having a second identity, a more thoughtful one.
The friendships we make on the internet are often unbiased by gender, religion, looks and nationality, which makes them valuable in a different way than the friendships we make in real life.
I will most likely post more later, right now I have a terrorist action to commit.
I claim the title of "mistress of the vindictive"
=]Front in favour of Moderation of the Harshest kind[=