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Benefits of the Internet

Explore the benefits and drawbacks of the Internet in modern society as we journey through the history, present, and future of the Internet.

For most of us, the Internet has woven itself into the fabric of our daily lives.

Hungry for a new recipe? A quick Google or Pinterest search will satisfy your cravings with recs top foodies. Longing to see a friendly face? A video call via social networking site, video conferencing app, etc., can connect you in no time. The way we manage our money has even changed with the prevalence of online banking.

But with its immense power, high-speed Internet also comes with a complicated mix of positives and negatives. Below, we'll take a look at some of the Internet’s past highlights, explore the digital landscape of our present, and look toward what the future of the Internet might hold.

How the Internet Helps the World

The use of the Internet has fundamentally changed how we communicate, learn, do business, check our bank accounts, travel, and so much more. It’s so necessary that people around the world consider it a right — not a privilege — to have access to Internet service.

Those of us with that access have quickly adapted to the Internet’s advancements, so much so that it’s hard to remember how much change has emerged in a short period of time.To put it into perspective, here are just a few significant benefits that Internet connectivity has brought to our society:

Instant Communication

Email, forums, and instant messages were just the tip of the iceberg. Now we have countless ways to make a video call or instantaneously connect with others around the world (i.e., social media platforms, WhatsApp, VoIP, and so much more). That said, the Internet has made it incredibly easy to stay in touch with friends, family, and colleagues, no matter the geographical distance.

Unprecedented Access to Information

Just 50 years ago, you’d have to go to countless libraries, request information via mail, etc., just to find a single source of information. Now, with enough time, you can learn it all on your own just by using a search engine.

The Internet is a massive reservoir of information, providing users access to virtually any kind of knowledge they seek, from academic research papers to cooking recipes. It’s a place where you can both share information and obtain it with the click of a button. Further, you can access that information anytime, anywhere, and as much as you like with unlimited data plans.

Ecommerce & Online Shopping

Whether you want to plan a quick getaway, need a last-minute gift for someone, or simply haven’t had time to pick up groceries, nearly every service and product provider can be accessed online.

Digital giants like Amazon, eBay, and others have revolutionized how we make our purchasing decisions and interact with retailers. And if that wasn't enough, your Internet connection makes it possible to track your parcel's entire journey from a bustling warehouse to your home, so you can know exactly when to expect it.

Revolutionized Education

Through online courses, educational forums and streaming services, the Internet has made it possible to learn from the world's brightest minds right from the comfort of our couches. Sometimes, without even spending a dime. Whether it's a YouTube tutorial or an online learning platform, education has become significantly more accessible — no matter where you're from or how much you earn.

Disadvantages of the Internet

Like a double-edged sword, the Internet has its pros and cons. It’s no secret that it brings up issues spanning from cybersecurity and mental health to over-reliance and inaccurate information. Here are a few of the major drawbacks:

  1. Trouble with Privacy: As we continue full-steam ahead with our reliance on digital connectivity, we’re exposing more and more of ourselves to the online world. From connecting with both friends and strangers, to shopping through targeted ads, and sharing our every thought or experience on social media, the lines of privacy and security have continued to blur.
  2. Not All You Read is Real: The Internet is packed with misleading information and made-up stories that can spread like wildfire. There’s likely a site or forum to validate every belief, whether it’s true or false. This can lead to huge problems, like inadequate or even dangerous health advice, increased hate speech, and fabricated stories gaining traction across news and politics.
  3. Stuck in the Web: The Internet can also be like mental quicksand. Many apps, especially social media apps, are designed to be addicting. It’s easier than ever before to get pulled into a vortex of mindless scrolling for hours on end. Studies show Internet addiction is very real and can lead to several mental health issues.

One of the biggest disadvantages is that the cloak of anonymity the Internet provides can easily protect those with harmful intentions or those who spread hate and false information. While certain social media platforms are attempting to resolve this issue, it is a very complex and difficult problem to fix while still encouraging free speech.

What’s The Future of the Internet?

The Internet is like a living creature, always growing and changing, filled with exciting twists and turns. Advancing technologies like 5G, Fiber Internet, the Internet of Things (IoT), automation, and artificial intelligence (AI) are already changing how we live and work. The Internet is always evolving in its possibilities and offerings, so the future is limitless with many unknowns.

But with all these changes, it's even more important that we improve our online security, stay savvy when it comes to Internet literacy and set solid rules to make sure the Internet is a safe and welcoming place for everyone.

While the Internet has indeed been a game-changer, it's crucial to navigate this digital landscape with a sense of caution and responsibility. Remember, the power of the Internet lies in how we choose to use it.

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