The advent of the Internet has been one of the most exciting major events in the second half of the 20th century. The ancient dream of “a scholar knows all things happening in the world without venturing outdoors” has finally become a reality. Since 1993, the Internet started to take off. At present, the Internet has spread to more than 180 countries and regions, connecting more than 600,000 domestic networks of various types, hooking up more than 20 million computers available to 120 million users (2% of the entire global population). Within the Internet are the information treasures shared by all human civilizations.
The reason why the Internet seems all-powerful is because it has two characteristics no other mechanisms possess: first, the Internet contains the biggest resource of information in the entire world; second, it enables people to obtain an interactive mechanism to instantly communicate with each other.
Once connected with the Internet, everyone can enjoy the unparalleled richness of global information resources including textual, audio, graphic information. The information on the Internet is so rich that no one can tell what is really out there. Furthermore, the Internet information resources are constantly expanding at a great speed—one can only make a rough estimate. The types of information on the Internet are also wide-ranging, from scientific research, education, public policy, legal regulations to commerce, arts, entertainment etc. to include everything. For all those connected with the Internet, they can quickly put onto the Internet all they want announced or all they think others should know about.
The Internet not only has an inexhaustible amount of information as vast as the ocean, but also has its interactive mechanisms—net to net, net to people, and people to people communications—that makes the Internet seem able to take on any task: entertainment, interpersonal exchanges, education, health and medicine, information gathering, securities and investment, trade and settlement of commercial goods, even online voting, etc. All these seemed ever so remote and unrealistic only yesterday. The exchange and sharing of information among all peoples has ushered in an omnipotent status in Internet applications. As long as people develop certain desires, the information to satisfy such desires will quickly and continuously appear on the Internet. And such information will gradually satisfy people’s desires for their material as well as spiritual demands. With the knowledge economy gradually ascending to a dominant status and the gradual formation of an information society, to characterize the Internet as “omnipotent” may not be overstating.
However, due to its innate transnational, decentralized, open and unregulated nature, the Internet as a free, open and anarchic device has brought various countries great risks as well as opportunities. While it provides enormous convenience and stimulates the economy to further develop, the Internet has also brought us negative impact that cannot be ignored.
The Negative Impact of the Internet
a. The Internet advocates western life-styles. These websites display various aspects of western society and life, and the overwhelming majority of them have positive portrayals of the western life-style. It makes people believe that the West seems to be countries of absolute freedom and paradise for individual achievement where private life is without obstacles and external inferences. Partial information such as this is particularly appealing to our youths whose life philosophy and worldview have yet to mature. Many of these youths aspire with great diligence to go abroad just to “change a way of living.” b. The Internet helps dominant cultures impact and homogenize cultures in an inferior position. Because the Internet overwhelmingly is a culture of the English language, it further strengthens throughout the...
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