But Really… What is the Internet?
Is it a place to learn and educate? Is it somewhere you can share and discover? Is it both revolutionary and overwhelming? Are there upsides and downsides? Is it’s impact ultimately beneficial to the entirety of mankind? I believe that the answer to all of these questions, put simply, is yes. Throughout the years of the internet’s development, many have found it to be a fascinating subject and tool, while others express concerns and panic about the implications of such a powerful creation. A decade ago, many shared the worries of those cautious of the Gutenberg printing press, predicting that harmful and mind-rotting content would be easily created, distributed, and discovered on the web. Others argued that the internet could drastically improve the way we collect information on topics and share reputable knowledge. These individuals held onto the concept of “the world at your finger tips,” realizing the great potential of a global tool. Dreams of cross-continental collaboration and easy access to mountains of information are what I believe really helped fuel the productive side of the internet.
With the good, of course, comes the bad, and as there is a productive side of the World Wide Web, the opposite is also present. Though one could spend their time contributing to and collecting information from a scientific journal or Wikipedia in a scholarly manner, one can also act inappropriately and cause negative impacts on individuals or even communities as a whole. Because anyone can create on the internet, it isn’t out of the ordinary to stumble upon or easily be able to find false information, harmful content, or something many would consider simply “garbage.” Because of this, it is extremely important to teach digital/internet literacy and skills at a young age, to ensure one knows how to maneuver the web and can differentiate between the good, the bad, and the ugly. There is only one internet, with content from across an entire spectrum mixed together, always expanding and growing as if it were alive, being backed by countless individuals throughout the world with different agendas and purpose. That is what makes it both so dangerous and beautiful. There will always be at least one other person on the internet that feels the same way as you about something or will appreciate what you’ve made and published, or vice versa, creating an environment to be truly and fully free creatively. I believe the fear of the internet is justified from time to time, but I genuinely believe you are at a genuine disadvantage in terms of both resources and creative expression when neglecting and avoiding the positive power of the web.