An American writer, Rick Warren said, “I just think the Internet has made us ruder.” What do you think of his words? Modern society is the information-oriented society. Everything changes quickly with numerous information, and people do their ordinary things such as doing homework, chatting with friends, making documents in the workplace, or even making food deliveries with their computers. All these things could be possible because of the advent of the internet. Then, when did the internet start to be used in South Korea? In 1982, the internet was introduced first when System Development Network (SDN) between Seoul National University and the laboratory of electronic communication was connected. After that, the e-mail service which was connected to the United States and Europe was provided, and in 1990 the time of the internet had begun (Ahn and Kim 91).
Since then, the internet has developed dramatically. According to Korea Internet and Security Agency, the number of people over three-year-old using the internet has increased about 30 million people from 1999 to 2011 (KISA ISIS). Nowadays, whoever, wherever people are, and whichever the equipment one person has such as personal computers, laptop computers, tablet pc or smartphones, the internet is accessible and available to everybody. The internet made people utilizing hundreds of information freely, enable to interact worldwide, and made people’s lives more convenient. However, there are several negative effects caused by the development of the internet as much as the positive effects. There are three bad effects as a result of the development of the internet in South Korea: the internet addiction, people’s moral paralysis and communication breakdown.
First of all, as a result of the development of the Internet, there are problems of internet addiction. Internet addiction is defined as the state of being unable to live daily life because of people’s excessive internet use or being unable to control themselves from using the internet. People are addicted to the internet game, chatting, searching the information, or pornography, so they cannot live ordinary lives as students, sons or daughters, and as workers. According to the research of Ministry of Gender Equality and Family, the rate of internet addiction has increased continuously, and 52% of 1,035,000 internet addicts are children and teenagers. The rate of addiction is 14.3% and the number of their rates are two times more than adults. In addition, the socially vulnerable class such as children of one-parent families and children who are handicapped are even worse, higher as five to eight percent than those who are in ordinary families (Wu).
It is one of the biggest effects the internet has caused because it is not just only an individual problem but also it causes the social costs. In 2010, the total social costs was estimated about 2.2 trillion won maximum including the costs of facilities providing pc service, the costs of cure and counseling for addicts and indirect costs which was caused by losing the opportunities of learning (Wu). The internet addiction is a serious problem because it affects teenagers much more. They are not adults yet and very easy to be influenced by provocative things. So, the internet which is full of exciting and sensational things could lead people to be addicted and made teenagers grow as adults not properly.
Second, as a result of the development of the Internet, there has been people’s moral paralysis. Under the concept of the anonymity, people gradually do immoral behaviors such as writing aggressive, malicious and hateful comments to other people’s posts, sharing things or data illegally that has the right of ownership and distributing other people’s false information. There were many celebrities of South Korea who committed suicide because of the bad comments for about last few years. In this year, Korean singer, Son Ho Young who was used to be a member of the most famous group, “GOD,” attempted suicide in May (Jo). It was because he was blamed of his previous girlfriend’s suicide. Until he attempted it, so many people on the internet made him a shameless person and wrote comments aggressively on the articles about him. Also, a new word, “Il Be,” which is actually the abbreviated form of the community site emerged as a way of expressing specific people who made malicious and dreadful comments to particular people such as some women and those who are from Jeolla Province. They are even called, “Il Be roundworm,” because of their shocking behaviors.
Until recently, they are making noises on the society of South Korea. Besides, we can see many cases that data and information with property rights are illegally shared and distributed to a lot of people. There are hundreds of P2P sites providing free files of music, movies, publication with the rights of ownership. It could not be solved only by cracking down. According to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, even they imposed fine those P2P sites, but it was temporary and returned to former state (Jung). It is because people regard illegal if we steal some goods for sale in a real-world, but in the virtual reality they do not regard downloading and uploading data with property rights as illegal. The development of the internet has caused the invasion of privacy as well by distributing personal information and false data. We can search huge amounts of information via the internet, and even we can easily find what we wrote on the internet few years ago just by typing ID in the search engine. However, using these advantages of the internet, there are problems of personal information leakage.
Many people are having trouble in leaking their private information that lots of spam mails and text messages are sent to them with the illegally opened information such as individuals’ e-mail addresses and phone numbers. A lot of celebrities in Korea are suffered by the false information. These are because people’s morality was paralyzed as a result of rapid development of the internet. They are being confused, getting numb of great deal of information and takes for granted that blaming others on the internet and getting information for free without hesitation.
Lastly, as a result of the development of the Internet, there has been the breakdown of communication. As the internet has developed rapidly in Korea, a generational gap was made between older people and young people. While the young are getting used to using the internet easily, older people are not. The internet made generational difference and be unable to talk each other. So the communication between older people and young people has decreased. Also, in the family, or even among friends there is not enough communication. Sons and daughters are not trying to talk with their parents and other family members when they are at home, chatting with friends with their computers or smartphones. Many people use Social Network Service (SNS) such as Facebook or Twitter and have a short talk and comments at open posts but do not have earnest conversations among friends and families. Even they are with friends beside, they chat with their smartphones using the mobile internet service, KakaoTalk. It would the biggest negative effect that the internet has made because even though the internet made the society not only more efficient and convenient but hard-hearted and less conversation.
In conclusion, as the internet has developed so much in Korea, many people are addicted to the internet, people’s morality is getting cracked, and lots of people are having broken down on real-world communication. The addiction problem affected individuals and the Korea’s society both. Numerous people on the internet are paralyzed of their morality making bad comments, sharing other people’s information illegally and distributing others’ private or wrong information. Also, there is breakdown of communication in generational and real world. Although we are living conveniently in a well-developed society with hundreds of information and having benefits thanks to the internet, there are always two sides to the coin. There are also some negative effects because of the development of the internet. Therefore, we should make the best use of the positive sides of the Internet and try to solve and reduce the negative effects of the Internet.
Courtney from Study Moose