What is the digital age? The digital age is the age where one can freely transfer information or interact worldwide using what we call (WWW) or World Wide Web. Look around you, you will see iPhones, iPads, Samsung galaxy phones, Laptops, computers, a never-ending world of commute technology. We all know the digital age has made life much simpler especially with the internet. However, just like we know the pros we must also think about the cons and the effects, to better understand the problems we are currently facing globally. Addressing my understanding about what the digital age has caused among society will hopefully give you a better understanding that something must be done.
Misuse of the Internet
The internet is a very important tool, it’s a connecting force for people worldwide and it’s obvious that we now depend on it. I’m sure we’re all familiar with the sites we use like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, google. Sites that have helped us interact in unimaginable ways, but apart from quick connections, better academic research, we have seen a lot of down sides with the internet, for example; cyber bullying, pornography addiction as well as possibly hurting personal relationships due to separation in communication. According to the new 2018 Global Digital suite of report from We Are Social, and Hootsuite, there are over four billion people around the world with internet access and stated new data from the USC Annenberg (PDF) the average American spends about 24 hours a week on the internet.
With the number of hours we spend on the internet, things are bound to happen and one of the biggest troubles is Cyberbullying. We have always heard about teenagers being bullied at school, imagine being bullied over social media, where hundreds of people can see posts that cause embarrassment and Humiliation. Cyber Bullying Facts Presented by Nerds on call, states that 42% of kids have been bullied online, 35% of kids have been threatened online, but the most appealing is 58% have not told and adult about any of it . Why is it hard for teenagers to say something about the ongoing events? Teens against Bullying tell us why. It’s understandable why many teens don’t want to say anything some are afraid of the type of action their parents will show, some don’t want their parent to worry and the most common one I’ve heard throughout my year in school which is also mentioned, “I don’t want to be a snitch” . This can definitely create a bigger issue between the victim and bully and peers in general. The average cyberbully starts at age nine . Teen safe addresses that 10% of children have attempted to take their own life. It’s unfortunate for those who never got the chance to express how they feel. In my opinion cyberbullying is the principle problem and social media needs to enforce the safety of users. According to “Social media firms ‘failing’ to tackle cyber-bullying”, explains that tougher actions on those who break the rules should be taken as well as other ideas like launching online safety lessons in schools and social networks to report cyber-bullying data.
Speaking of safety, getting your personal information compromised doesn’t sound so good and this happens often due to the amount of personal information we are providing on the internet; for example, pop up adds which asks to add information to enter and win a grand prize, but most of us should know what that grand prize will be. In my experience working at call centers many people fall for these kinds of scams, which leads to credit card fraud or identity theft. Identity theft is not a joke. It’s true that sometimes it’s unknown whether it’s a scam or not. We must be careful, especially if one is not computer or internet literate.
Explicit information is everywhere and another problem we encounter due to internet, is addiction of pornography. It is stated that 90% of children ages (8-16) have viewed porn. This is basically the majority of children at one point and the largest consumer of pornography are boys of age 12-17 . It may seem that boys/guys are the only watchers of such explicit content, but woman do it too. One in six women struggle with porn addiction and many believe that porn is morally acceptable. The issue with this is that it can seriously affect the way one looks at relationships, it can affect one financially and potentially cause issues at school and work . We all want a healthy relationship and life.
There are dozens of things that we no longer do because of the revolution of the digital age, like solving a mathematic problem, no longer taking the time to memorize phone numbers or go to blind dates, we instead use Tinder an online dating app which can potentially lead to other horrific things like catfish, someone who is tricked into thinking that they are talking to someone when in actuality they are someone else or even being a victim of sex trafficking. All of these changes are affecting our brain negatively the function of our brain is being altered and although we are benefiting from our inventions, we are becoming what I believe to be Lazy, human machines that only function with information given to us through internet or social media rather than being more curious and finding things out by ourselves.
Effects of Internet and Social Media
I can truly say that I understand the effects of internet and social media. I understand now why many say don’t use your phone when sitting at the dining table or when hanging out with friends, because not only are we not paying attention to our family and friends, but we are not getting the true experience of interacting with someone.
In the end technology continues to improve, the internet will continue to grow. I myself am always on my phone or computer at least 10 hours throughout the day. I see my parents, people who did not grow with technology on their phones without realizing the amount of time they are wasting. The dependency of the internet has changed the way we socialize and live in general. We no longer take the time to go out and make relationships, have a normal face to face conversation, with new people or just people we know. We instead scroll and get to know the person through pictures and videos. Recent research by German scientist suggest that by viewing images of other people vacation photos, personal achievements, etc. can make one feel envy, sadness, jealousy and even loneliness which can ultimately lead to depression or suicide, its happening and have had friends tell me about their desire to have not had social media, but we continue on social media with what seems to be no acknowledgement of the issue.
I’m not the only one that feels that social media addiction is a problem and feel like steps should be taken to at least reduce the amount spent on it. I am a true believer that we can all use the internet appropriately without harming ourselves or people around us. We can start of by turning off our notifications, set a time where you are allowed online and when you need to get off, get a hobby, play outdoor sports, maybe message someone you rarely interact with and get to know them, or simply go full on out and not use the internet for a while . It may seem like an impossible task since again we now depend on it, but we often hear about the changes one makes to better oneself. Can we change the way we use social media? Change the outcome of future problems that can occur? I do, but it all begins with the touch of a button.