Before the internet patients was a requirement when it came to acquiring information and communicating with others. Now you can get nearly anything you may need or want without having to leave your desk. Life before the internet made researching a subject a daunting task. Spending hours on end at the public library if not days if you didn’t understand the Dewy Decimal System to find enough information to write an essay. That compared to life after the internet where there is literally a world of information at your fingertips. The average household with school age children had a complete set of Encyclopedia Britannica and a Webster Dictionary, whereas now they have a personal computer with the internet to access more information than you can possibly need. Even communication has changed, after all why would you write a letter to your “pen pal” across the country and wait weeks to find out what they think when you can fire off an email and get an answer in minutes instead?
Unfortunately, the internet has not always been used for pleasantries and to make research easier. The internet was originally used for a much more important purpose. The internet began in the 1960’s as a US military initiative to create secure communications in time of conflict. By sending data transmissions from one computer to another in stages it ensured that if any link in the chain was destroyed by enemy action, there would be other paths, through other computers, to the same destination the information would still arrive. This also insured the enemy would not be able to intercept the entire message. From here the internet has found its way to civilian life, and daily use. (Oxford: Elsevier Science & Technology, 2010)
The “net generation” or “digital natives” are individuals who were born in the digital age and know nothing of life before the internet-are changing the way trial lawyers try cases and the way juries decide them. Trial lawyers have to assume jurors will use the Internet to research a case, making it difficult to keep a jury from being influenced by the media. Especially when you no longer even need a computer to do this-just a smart phone with internet access. Some jurors of this generation are using mobile devices during trial and won't think twice about banging out a tweet about the trial or whipping out an iPhone to research an issue that comes up during a case, even when told not to by the trial judge. Before these tools were available, jurors had no choice but to sit patiently and make their decision based on the information given in court. The public was not given a play-by-play of the case by those attending the trial but had to wait for the lawyers to hopefully give a statement with an update as to how things were progressing. (Hsieh, 2010)