19. Growing Up Online

This post refers to the video Growing Up Online by Frontline.

As I have mentioned in previous posts, the advent of Internet brought many consequences, some negative and some positive. This video deals both with the advantageous and disadvantageous side-effects of Internet overuse, such as lack of sociability.

The video made me wonder: what would happen to our lives if I “unplug” ourselves from all media sources? Let’s assume that I avoided all medias. For a teenage boy like me who uses the computer for more than three hours per day, I would be insecure because I would feel like I’m missing some “good stuffs” that everyone else is viewing, participating in, or planning online. To dodge these addictive worries, I would have to find another activity to focus on. For example, I would spend more time on the drums and guitars to distract myself from looking at the computer screen. Another possible solution to disconnect from media is engaging myself in outdoor activities. Although the weather these days are freezing, at least I won’t think about Internet while it’s out of reach. As one of the wall posts in the Frontline discussion, a stereotypical image of a computer geek is

anti-social, swallow-skinned codester.

internet-addictI guess this stereotype holds some validity because when anyone uses the computer, they hardly move or use any muscles. By actually using muscles and moving around, we can prevent computer addition to some extent.

Why do people use Internet? One of the main reasons is the networking sites. In Internet, there are numerous websites, networks, and clubs that anyone can join and converse with other people. By doing this, people feel “included.” Also for people who are less social than others in real life, these networking sites work as another path for them to develop socially. Websites like Facebook and MySpace give opportunities and invisible confidence for even the most non-social people.

web_pornographySo what are the disadvantages of Internet exposure? What parents worry about the most is the children’s “accessibility” towards viral marketings, pornographies, violences, and/or vulgar and instantaneous languages. Online kidnappers and terrorists are emerging. Careless online messages are “distorting” the English language. As one of the people discussed on the discussion board,

Basically everyone knows abbreviations like “LOL”. The advent of internet/text messaging typography is nearly pandemic in the majority of young writers. I’ve peer-reviewed college papers where the author didn’t write out the full word “you”, and so on. For years I’ve wanted to make a research project over the further (rapid) evolution of ‘internet language’, as it seems to be a driving force in the next new change in the English language.

There are clear benefits and losses of Internet usage. Whether or not they are used in a “good” way lies under individual user’s responsibility.

*The above video features an interesting debate, discussing whether individual privacy is more important than catching criminals.

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