Communication Technology: the Internet
Currently, there have been many discussions circulating everywhere about the impacts of the internet, which is changing all the faces of social lives. This is as a result of the introduction of the social sites such as Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, Viber and many others. There have emerged concerns of their influence on social lives. Some of the recently conducted researches suggest that the internet has incredibly little or no impact on many aspects of social life. However, the articles written by Smith and Tara have contrary views on this subject. Internet only creates new ways of doing ordinary tasks and activities, but it does not change the way people live their normal or social life. In this respect, over-reliance on technology weakens the human modes of communication.
Talking of the internet, we cannot fail to mention communication since the internet has immensely facilitated it. However, the “sad truth” is that human beings have become overly stupid as a result of enslaving themselves to the internet. Therefore, the internet is not a source of social change; rather, it is a way of creating new ways of doing old things. Therefore, I totally agree with the concerns raised by Smith and Tara that the internet is diluting human interpersonal face-to-face communication in the society.
According to Smith, the internet has been incorporated into the social lives of many American families. As Smith observes “the internet has become irresistible and addictive, just like whole milk, red meat and bourbon”. Recent surveys indicate that, on average, people expend about five hours daily on the internet, thus affecting their interaction with other family members. Norman Nie, a professor at Stanford University affirms this point by saying that, the use of the internet has worsened the social isolation gap. This has created a “robot generation” where people communicate without the human emotions.
In the modern era, the face-to-face communication has been replaced by the touch of a button, thus making socialization a “remote” controlled affair. In this respect, Tara begins her article by asking if people respect their Facebook friends as more fascinating than those in real life. Tara uses the analogy of “high speed internet and slow speed children” to describe the impact of the internet on communication. Tara argues that communications technology is making us weaker because people spend much time on the internet. Quite often, people are glued to their devices, thus creating dependence on their mobile phones and the internet. Consequently, people end up neglecting their house chores, sleep late in the night, or miss important events because of spending much time online.
The Internet is a Powerful Tool of Communication
The introduction of modern means of communication has led to internet addiction among college students. In the article, Tara mentions Carr, who argues that, today, the internet has corrupted the human mind owing to the provision of online reference books and dictionaries. The excessive utilization of the internet has led to a lot of “brain drain.” The thinking capacity has heavily been eroded since Google “has become the password for anything in this world. Tara argues “students have adopted the culture of relying on the internet for any information and lost the book reading culture”. The internet has thus been shown by the author as well as by several researchers to interfere with our cognition.
The modern forms of communication technology are indeed making people weak because of the variety of choices. The internet has become a powerful tool of communication because there is a two-way conversation. As the Stanford report documents, approximately 60% of people today spend less time on watching television, thus allocating more time on the internet. Today, many people, especially teens buy smart phones, which can easily accommodate the latest applications that support social networking sites.
Kimberly Young likens the internet addiction to eating disorders. He argues that, just like food which is essential for the body, addiction to the internet is addictive to the human brain. Quite often, the online disorder syndrome is highly addictive and people find it difficult to control and use the internet in moderation (Tara, n.p). This view is shared by Smith, who argues that over-dependence on the internet has made people become antisocial. Smith describes internet lovers as people who love their freedom, isolated, lonely and enjoy a solitude. This is because, when people become too engrossed on the internet, their minds become enclosed since they are out to fulfill certain innate urge.
Despite the concerns raised over the dependence on the internet, Smith believes that the internet is not a real problem, but it is often used for personal gain. The internet has its fair advantages such as ease of communication and making shopping easier. For instance, the internet has enabled people to shop online without necessarily travelling physically to the store.
Although, the internet provides a convenient and faster way of finding information, I think that the human brain has become a slave of the internet. As a result of overdependence on the internet, human beings risk turning into “pancake people” because information can be accessed by a touch of a button. Today, the use of the internet presents a tremendous cause of worry because of the net implications. Thus, it is worrying that people are reading too much information online, and “decoding” information instead of synthesizing and internalizing the information. Therefore, over-dependence on the internet is making people weak because they have become enslaved.