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Impact Of The Internet On Our Society Media Essay

The Internet is the epitome of the fast moving, dynamic sector of the twenty first centuary. “It is arguably the blazon of innovation in communication technologies, services, and the markets over the last 15 or so years, is viewed by many as a communication frontier with many radical transformative potential” [1] . The Internet and specifically its usage provides an example that how its nature and consequences has been transforming the society. This paper argues that how the internet brings changes and its impact on society. This paper will also try to find out the role of the State in bringing the changes and development into the Information and Communication Technology (ICT).

Internet now has become more pervasive than television and radio in today’s globalised world. It provides the rare information and examples that was not easily accessible before. With the expansion of the internet and communication technology the development has started taken place. The significance of the Internet has not just in the field communication but also into each and every sphere of life. The extent of Internet is such that anyone can access any information from anywhere. There is no geographical boundaries left as all are removed by the internet communication technology. Cyber has removed the distance as now everybody is so interconnected, people share their ideas, thoughts, suggestions, problems, ideas etc and cyber always welcome them. “Internet welcomes the intellectual activities i. e those who wants to express their views are always welcome.” [2] Internet has emerged as a prominent medium of communication. The issue that has become a prominent focus of debate and also is to examine the impact of Internet on society. This also leads to the transforming phase of the society that how the society is been transforming and a new society is been emerging. In this transformation of the society it is the State which plays a major role in the development of the Information and communication technology which leads to the changes.

The evolution of Internet was by United States Department of defence “Advanced Research Projects Agency Network,” APRANET, in 1970 for transferring data and information. But the way it has transformed our society “Hauben and Hauben (1997) refer to as Netizens: Net Citizens. [3] ” It has created its own terminology its own world such as search engines (google.com; wikipeadia.com); web pages, web servers, clients, http, POP, DNS, ISDN and various domain names also. In this present world we talk about e-shopping ; e trade e-toys; e-commerce; e-governance; online services etc which shows the desires of our society that how ready it is to adopt these changes of the changing world.

Technology and Social Changes:

As everything has its positive and negative impact, internets also have its positive as well as its negative impact not only in the society but also into the security, political and economical ways of living. Since 1993 numbers of the net users have been increasing continuously and now days everybody has its own e-mail id and have access to all the information which is available over the Internet. “In terms of security, nuclear issues continue to dominate, but with the greater concerns about chemical and biological weapons and their possible use by so-called ‘rogue states’ such as Iraq, or terrorist groups able to use the global interconnectedness of transport and ICTs to communicate, organize boundaries more easily. Weapons of mass destruction (WMD) as a catch all terms signalled the expanded range of weapons beyond the nuclear seen as threat in the contemporary world. (UK Government, 2002)”. [4] With the arrival of the internet the issue of security becomes more complex and difficult to control. Youngs argued that, “The more dependent on ICT network individuals, organisations, economies and states become, the more difficult it is to police and control informational boundaries. The digital age feeds on the capturing and transferral of data across increasing numbers of network nodes at ever faster speeds. It is not an overstatement to say that as societies and individuals and entities within them operate via the Internet, whether through e-banking or business, email and chat rooms activity, or political activism, the more they are caught in it, identified by and through the networks they are involved in and the information they contain about them. This is the situation where boundaries can easily collapse, and this goes much further than just the idea that the internet crosses geographical and political divides, and separations between public (institutional) and private (personal) social spaces and places.(Youngs,2001) [5] ”

“The transnational characteristics of the Internet and its multi-sector nature- economies and politics, public and private commercial and non-profit, formal and informal, institutional and individual and so on- are fundamental to the intricate meaning of the transformations associated with the network society. Many would argue that the internationalisation of the economy, over the twentieth centuary in particular, was a major driver of globalisation, but in the latter part of that centuary ICTs (and to some extent media generally) were integral to that process.” [6] 

For ‘blurred boundary’ between ‘warfare, criminal activity and plain old-fashioned system failure’ as perhaps one of the greatest difficulties for the nation states’. Edward argued “Many of the technologies being brought into use are expected to operate across the wide range of platforms-types of computers and types of network, to the extent that different operating systems sharing a network can sometimes have unintended consequences. These can range from system crashes to non- specific random errors. So there is an issue of threshold to be addressed in terms of protective security and military defence. The latter may be good at responding to definite signals, but the small inconsistencies that plague large systems make it difficult to tell when a decisive boundary has been crossed to be able to initiate a large-scale and well-resourced response.(Edward, 2003: 103; my emphasis.)” [7] 

The changes into the mode of communication has brought significant and historic changes into the society as well as such “developments has given attention on the relationship of communication to the definition and nature of the modern state, its security, identity and democratic processes.” [8] Internet has become the origin of the communication system in USA. Robert Deibert argues “that would withstand a nuclear attack.” Young argues that “but equally, if not even more interesting are the exponential transformations involving the Internet in all spheres of human and social interactions.” [9] 

Young argues about the impact of internet on the economics of the state that “while the success of the states becomes significantly linked to digital advances of varying kinds, growing number of citizens are also offered via the Internet an interactive political sphere that extends well beyond the traditional state settings. Reflexive processes impacting on political affiliations and identities are increasingly likely to reflect these expanded circumstances (Youngs, 2001 [10] ) .”

With this” Internet is representing a completely new ‘virtual’ social environment, which also links directly the private space of home to the wider world, just as in, some ways, radio and television did, but in case of Internet much more powerfully for example, through interactivity” [11] . For many people in the world Internet is the medium of exchange of spheres as well as it acts as a medium of global reach. However for some it is not accessible example: ‘digital divide’ the line which divides the digitally empowered and the digitally poor, hampers the ICT potentials of placing unequal human beings on an equal footing. Digital poverty is much more problematic because it affects not just the traditionally rich but also the traditionally poor and threatens to broaden socio-economic inequalities even further.” [12] Internet is transforming the lives of human beings and attention must be paid towards the lives of those who are not cyber literate and are disempowered. By making them cyber literate this problem can be solved and for this purpose ‘active participation’ is needed.

Impact of Internet on Education:

Internets help a lot in the field of education by providing new information and keep them updated. It has transformed the relationship between the teachers and the students and gave a new horizon and prospects to it. Example: earlier students were not aware about the current information they depends upon books and newspapers but with the access of Internet they can easily grab the information in whatever language they want and needed. Students learn various languages and can communicate with teachers and experts just by clicking mouse. Internet has now become a source of joy and education both. State is also playing its role in increasing cyber literacy. Government by making various polices is trying to make people participate into the programmes and policies made for the educational purposes. Internet also brings new social environment from private space to the globalised world. As Internet is very helpful for the students and children for their educational purposes in positive aspects. However it has its negative aspects also as there are certain websites which are dangerous to them. According to Littleton Colorado, in April 1999(vice-president, Gore) “In the field of education children gain access to areas which are not suitable and dangerous. And in other areas also the issues of security is of great concern.” [13] Firewalls are the issues which are always needed and in great demands for security purposes not only in the field of education but also in business . Internet is the ocean of information, as far as one satisfied it continuously provides information.

Political Influence:

“The Internet explicitly propagates and implicitly spreads western democratic values. These views are mainly spread through some governmental organisations or government-sponsored groups in the West. Internet degrades and repudiates those countries, political parties and governments that have different ideologies from those of the West. It can be used as a tool to harm national sovereignty and interfere with other countries’ internal affairs.” [14] 

Impact of Internet on Culture:

“The Internet advocates western life styles. These websites displays various aspects of western society and life, and the overwhelming majority of then 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. This is particularly appealing to the youths whose life philosophy and worldview have yet to mature. They aspire with great diligence to go abroad just to “change a way of living. It helps in dominant cultures impact and homogenize in an inferior position. Because the Internet overwhelming is a culture of the English language, it further strengthens throughout the globe the culture based upon the English language. In comparison, cultures based upon any other language have been weakened. It also corrupts people’s mind, influences and changes moral perspective and ethical values. The pornography merchants in western countries have opened websites. This has led to the Commerce Committee of the U.S Senate to propose the ‘1995 Communications Act for Good Behaviour’ to prohibit sex crimes committed on the internet” [15] However U.S plays a kind of hegemony into the field of Internet.

Security threats:

Due to hackers nothing is safe on Internet which is transferred. They can strike anywhere and anytime and can hack. “According to the Statistics of the US.FBI incidents of the American Internet networks being broken into are

rapidly increasing by 30% annually, making the US suffer tremendously.” [16] 

Flooding of Information: Waste of time and resources

The Internet is capable of providing connectivity to millions of people together. People connected together may create ‘Internet junk’ such as advertisement; product information etc. It may provide incorrect information which may be real or fake. The creation of unwanted information online is a huge loss of time and cost of searching valuable information as well as people may get mislead easily. The younger generation is highly infected with this because of two factors such as their young age and also they have time to access Internet as much as they want and the information which is available on internet may mislead them to other directions.

Conclusion:

This paper focussed on how Internet has its impact on our society and how the technology brings social change. How the technology benefits the human beings and how it brings prosperity and welfare and how every citizen is benefitted with the Information and Communication technology. For building information-oriented or cyber literate society state do not need resources to invest more and more into it but it needs creative individuals and comparatively small amount of investment in ICT infrastructure. As anyone can easily provide the information about the product and all the transactions takes place online. Example: Carpet industries in Bhadohi (U.P, India),if someone wants to place an order from US then he need not to come to India but can place order online. Or, Puppets from Rajasthan, can ordered online from anywhere in the world. All the geographical boundaries are been collapsed through Internet as even the smallest information is available on Internet at the cheapest rates. Information and Communication Technology also helps to remove the economical inequalities. And also tries to remove the digital divided or the technological imbalances not only in between the countries which are developed and under-developed but also between the males and females.

“As Susan Strange’s had argued in analysis of global political economy, in advance of the Internet age the importance of technological power for an understanding of continuing US hegemony widespread economic significance of ICTs, and the prominence of major corporations such as Microsoft.” [17] 

The impact of the Internet on our society is discussed in this paper on the fields of education; politics; culture; security and economics. All these reflect the needs of the regulatory measures or the cyber laws not only just making but implications also. However an increasingly networked and information driven world as a community is been formed. They can access to all the information which includes “e business, cross border political affiliations and activism that may help to form new kinds of identities; individual research activities that enable, for example, citizens to gain access to world press and other official views of government’s action; cross national political or personal discussions in chat rooms; email relationships between people who have never met.” [18] As Young, argued that Internet is both complex as well as easy and through Internet crosses the geographical and political divides and also it brings separation between public and private social spaces and places. In conclusion, once the Internet is opened it should be used as a tool through which information can be gathered and can be used for the development and welfare purposes and should it not used as an objective. And State should try to gain victory over the challenges such as cyber literacy, bridging the digital divide; providing services online; cyber laws and their implications.

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