The Internet has been called the “information superhighway” by many, but perhaps an even more appropriate nickname would be the “free for all”. There is many an ugly side of the web, whether it’s so-called “trolls” posting disturbing or hateful comments on YouTube videos just to get a rise out of people or tweeting racist comments; it’s all out there.
The internet can be a great tool for spreading information and ideas amongst people all over the globe; it allows old friends to stay in touch, people to gain perspective on the rest of the world, and generally makes our lives much easier. Unfortunately, the negative side of this is that there is pretty much everything anyone could ever want to see, and a lot of it is damaging to society and impressionable people. As a society we are becoming more and more comfortable with disturbing images and ideas, due in large part to having it all at our fingertips.
Many of us spend so much of our time worrying about how we are perceived on mediums such as Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat. We are so consumed by our online presence that we often forget to live and enjoy life. Personally, I am so tired of being around someone whose first thought when experiencing something cool is to post it on Instagram. Why can’t we just enjoy the moment anymore? It’s not all bad, of course, but it’s overwhelming to me and makes me feel old.
I was born in 1992, and technology didn’t really begin to dominate our lives like it now does until well into my teenage years, so I feel people my age have a unique perspective on technology and society. We were the last generation to see both sides of it. Maybe it’s just nostalgia, but I often long for times like the 90s and early 2000s where there wasn’t so much information to get lost in.
Many people these days operate under a guise of anonymity so that they can’t be held accountable when they post something stupid, hateful, or disturbing on the internet, and it’s only becoming more and more acceptable. I have siblings under the age of 10 and they are just as competent, if not more so, than me at using electronic devices. This really scares me because I know what’s out there and how easy it is to find. I wonder what these younger generations will grow up to be having been so overexposed to information at such a young age.
I don’t believe it’s healthy at all, but I know it’s only going to get worse with time. Companies are not going to stop making these products and the internet isn’t going away anytime soon. In some ways this is good because we have all this information at our disposal, but it also continues to allow this ugly side of society to grow, and grow it has.
I have made a conscientious effort to spend less time online and more time pursuing hobbies, being outdoors, and spending time with actual, living creatures. I feel like my mind is healthier when I spend time away from it all, and I hope more people begin to realize how valuable their time on Earth is and truly make the most of it. If not, they’ll be old and gray, wondering like Dr. Dog, “Where’d All the Time Go?”