The internet was created in 1983 to serve one simple purpose; to serve as a window for sharing information and facts. Fast forward to 2019 and well, you get a really dense number of people all connected and sharing their opinions, and this interconnection is now directly linked to a lot of dangers of the internet
Here’s how it happened and how you can escape the insidious damage that it’s leaving.
HOW THE INTERNET GOT WRECKED
It all started when everyone could lay their hands on a digital device and started uploading. “A post went viral” became a common phrase, yet a viral post didn’t necessarily have to be accurate, true or helpful to the society, it just had to trigger the right emotions.
Misinformation flooded the web. Waking up each morning we are bombarded with tons upon tons of news updates, although this isn’t bad, the problem emerges when the authors of the articles start competing for attention.
Blatant lies are written as headings of articles just to grab attention. Because of the overload of information People are forced to pick the most eye-catching articles, and sometimes they glance through a plethora of headings just to stay updated. But if lies fall among these headings, what happens to the reader then?
The answer: they get misinformed. but this is the least of the worries
PROBLEM 1: who can we trust
I woke up some days ago to see a picture on my WhatsApp status, it came with the headline “Research proves that children inherit intelligence from their mothers”, a simple phrase yet so inaccurate, it is mind-boggling because the carriers of this “wrong information” declared that the conclusion was reached based on a research
the word “Research” which indicates the presence of an authority figure, someone we can trust and rely on, but it appears we can’t just go trusting just any authority these days because after few queries on search engines it was clear that that particular blog post was false.
It is a common thing to tell someone “just google it”, or “let’s check the internet”, especially the kids and teenagers who run to the internet for every single thing
What is helpful and what is destructive? the lines blur. A simple query on the issue of Masturbation would only leave you in limbo, with everyone giving their own opinion on what’s right or wrong and what is helpful or not. Don’t even bother about substance abuse especially on social media.
PROBLEM 2: what do we believe?
We moved the world to the cloud, now different cultures from different parts of the world interreact seamlessly. The temptation to mimic is always lurking, yet not every culture is compactible
The internet is a good thing, however, the internet is just a medium of communication, anything can flow through it: True, false, obscene, fringe, dangerous, deceptive, malicious, salacious etcetera. They all come crashing
these days, its almost as if we have clans on the internet, where one clan believes this an the other believes that and whenever they meet they engage in internet trolls as a means of combat. and Oh, before I forgot, they also air their opinions on their blogs, and with just a little SEO(search engine optimization) they get their voice to be heard the loudest.
If these opinions and advice are mostly based on biases, who can we believe then?
PROBLEM 3: welcome to the dark web
You probably thought I was joking when I said not every culture (way of life) is compactible, well, I welcome you to the dark web where the incompatibles thrive
The Dark web is basically a part of the internet that is not readily available to everyone, and it is so for good reasons.
Ideas and activities that are not generally acceptable or tolerated by the public publicly rests on the dark web (I said publicly because the public might support some activities but not publicly, Hint: Porn)
Activities such as selling of contrabands like drugs, ivory, ammunitions, child porn, and other shit nobody wants you stumbling into by mistake like you always do on the “internet” are all well kept on the dark web
did I just say internet filters are useless?
because really, think of it, how many times has it really stopped someone from getting to what they want, despite it being harmful to them?
THIS IS WHAT CAUSED THE MESS
As much as I would love to embark with you on the journey to discover who is responsible for this “great evil”, it appears that the “great evil” is uhmm…Humans
In the Science fiction genre, it is common to read stories where humans try leaving earth, because it had become inhabitable, only getting to the new planet to discover that the only problem that ever existed was the humans
The major issue is that we forgot what the internet was meant for, or should I say we abused it.
Remember the internet was developed to shear information and facts. Information and facts are supposed to be researched upon and given serious thought and consideration before shearing, yet, most people spend the entire day on the internet, forgetting that they were supposed to do the research and reasoning before coming to the internet to shear anything.
This is why social media is so messy, people spend countless hours just scrolling, laughing and shearing anything that pricks their emotions, whether right or wrong. Forgetting that they should be learning from their immediate environment, which most times is ignored and left un-catered for.
The academics, the job, the family, everything poorly managed because of what? you got it right, the internet. But the internet is not the problem, people’s attitude towards it is.
PROBLEM 4: who sheared my nudes on twitter?
The issue of privacy is a joke, we seem to crave privacy while at the same time announcing to the world what we ate for breakfast. Like Eric Schmidt the C.E.O of Google once said,
“If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place”Eric Schmidt
This is why those annoying ads keep following you everywhere you go, they are monitoring you, and you also voluntarily sheared all your secrets. Oh I forgot, no one needs to keep secrets
Anyway, the big data companies really have to chill with all of the trackings.
SOME DANGERS OF THE INTERNET
The point is there is a rise of the following on the internet
- Negative influence
- privacy issues
just to mention a few. whenever we log into the interent we are exposed to a world that thrives on feelings and competes for attention, and anyone who means business on the internet should and probably is a master at influencing people’s emotions. that’s how you always end up spending countless hours on the internet doing what you never had in mind prior to logging in
THE WAY OUT OF THIS MESS
the solution to this is quite simple, it involves understanding yourself and human nature and then using it to your advantage.
below are my recommendations
- Lay off the internet until you have something important to offer or look for, and even at that apply caution. I usually save my heavy research for the night and I try to stick with a list of objectives I’ve earlier stated.
- Stick with the authorities, the people and places with a reputation of giving accurate information on the topic you are researching on, a good example of such a place would be Wikipedia. it is always wise to go through the comment section of a blog before concluding, and even so question everything and look somewhere else. i.e visit other websites to confirm
- Also remember to question your questions, that way you get rid of the notorious confirmation Bias flaw in the human brain and keep your dignity after a heated debate.
- There’s nothing as reassuring as having people comment how good it is before downloading that video, no matter the type *clears throat* you know what I mean
- And if you find any information wrong, make sure you speak out and possibly give a link to the accurate one, just try not to waste your time arguing with total strangers that you are never ever going to meet.
- Did I mention you should be careful when you come across something too good to be true? Yeah, whenever you get such pop-ups and emails be especially careful, internet fraud is real.
You want to make sure that the information is genuine by asking about it. Try asking questions in forums like Quora or even ask a professional in real life
Make sure that anyone asking for your passwords and credit card information is trusted by many people and not just the ones they told you, but the ones you’ve researched yourself.