Does the Internet Make Us Smarter and or More Socialized?

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Today, the Internet is the center of attention for businesses, governments, schools and individuals around the world. It has produced new industries, transformed existing ones, and has become a global cultural experience not only for adults but for children as well. It is a learning tool used to educate in schools and within our homes. The surfacing of the Internet as another means of electronic communication has had a transformative influence on social interaction. The Internet gives people the opportunity to put their knowledge to work and take advantage of greater opportunities to lead productive and fulfilling lives (Gates). It is a gateway to measureless amounts of art, knowledge and culture. It provides equal unparalleled access to information and communications, allowing the formation of rich communities and forging real connections between people. It opens up economies, destroys barriers between nations and democratizing societies. As cheap computing power becomes more pervasive, the Internet can bring all these benefits to more and more people around the world (Gates). Although the majority of people who use the internet are adults, children and teenagers are becoming more advanced with this technology. For most children and teenagers, using the Internet has joined watching television and talking on the phone and has become part of their daily activities. It has opened a whole new world for them allowing them to research on the internet and interact with others all around the world. The Internet is giving children the opportunity to indulge in academic and intellectual curiosity, revolutionized education, and explore the world (Gates). Aside from being a source for information, teenagers also use the Internet as a place of self-expression through the generation of content such as blogs, art work, stories and remixes of music, or other media. Publication and distribution to an online audience can help teenagers gain visibility and a status to grow their peer networks. In managing their peer networks, teenagers are also learning impression management, as well as social skills (Mizuko et al., 2008).  Establishment of self-identity is a large part of the teenage years and the digital media of the Internet allow teenagers to build social and personal identity in the on-line and off-line environments. Impression management is important as teenagers interact in a global online public. However, while it helps them to learn about our society and what is happening around the globe, it can also expose them to obscene, violent or inappropriate content (Gates). Security has always been a major issue for businesses, governments, and individuals that rely on information technology (Gates). Before the Internet, we as people were happy with handing credit cards at restaurants they had never been before, and that too is not likely to change. But as our economy is increasingly depending on the Internet and security is our greatest concern. Widely publicized incidents of Web site hacking, credit card fraud and identity theft have given the Internet a largely unjustified besmirched reputation (Gates). In order to keep the Internet a safe place to do business or for personal use, software companies have a responsibility to work together to ensure that their products always offer the highest levels of security. The judicial system and the law enforcement community must keep pace with technological advancements and enforce criminal laws effectively and thoroughly (Gates). You have many parents who feel the internet is safe and a great teaching tool that increases their children’s learning abilities. At the same time, other parents feel the internet is not safe and can corrupt your child with computer games, online chatting obscenity and vulgarity. The private sector is consistently moving forward...
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