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The Pros and Cons of the Internet

advantages and disadvantages of the internet

With the implementation of the internet and its use on a global scale, our world become increasingly connected.

 

The internet can be considered as one of the most important inventions in the history of mankind since it provides endless opportunities to companies as well as to everyone of us in our daily life.

 

However, there are also some issues related to the use of the internet. In this article, the pros and cons of the internet are examined.

Audio Lesson

Advantages of the Internet

  1. Allows to stay connected with people all over the globe
  2. Global job opportunities
  3. Human rights are strengthened
  4. Protests are facilitated
  5. Improvements in information flows
  6. Increasing competition fosters global competition
  7. Lower product prices
  8. Dangerous work can be done by machines
  9. Autonomous driving
  10. Smart homes
  11. Necessary for the progress in artificial intelligence
  12. Better access to education
  13. May increase opportunities also for poor people
  14. Automation of processes
  15. Increase in profits
  16. We may all have to work less
  17. New job opportunities
  18. Teleworking
  19. Better compatibility of family and work
  20. Good medium to share your thoughts
  21. Improvements in entertainment
  22. Real-time communication possible
  23. Uncomplicated wire transfers and online banking
  24. Convenient shopping
  25. Efficiency improvements

Allows to stay connected with people all over the globe

One big advantage of the internet is that it allows people all over the globe to stay connected with each other for free. Through the use of emails or social networks, people are able to chat with each other and even to send pictures and videos. This opportunity is unique and has never been present in the history of mankind.

 

For instance, say you meet a person on your travels and want to stay connected with him or her. In former times, you had to write physical letters, which had been quite costly and also took up to a few weeks to reach its recipient.

 

However, through the use of the internet, it is possible to chat real-time. Think about how crazy this really is! Therefore, the internet provides us with a great opportunity to stay connected with our friends all over the world.

 

Global job opportunities

The internet also provides us with a variety of global job opportunities. Nowadays, it is quite easy to apply to companies in foreign countries via the internet. However, just a few decades ago, all this was not possible at all and people had to rely on the local job market by searching jobs in newspapers instead.

 

Thus, if you want to work abroad, the internet gives you a great opportunity since it is quite easy to apply for those kinds of jobs online.

 

Even if you just want to work in your home country, the internet also facilitates the application process since you can just apply to several companies on their homepages without having to send all your references and credentials in physical form anymore.

 

Human rights are strengthened

Also from a human rights perspective, the invention of the internet has done a fairly good job. Since everything has become much more transparent, the problem of worker exploitation has decreased.

 

People are now more aware regarding the conditions a product is produced and companies stop exploiting their employees in order not to damage their brand, at least to a certain extent. This is due for all kinds of industries.

 

Since information can be shared through social media channels that easily, social injustices will be detected by the general public quite fast and companies therefore have an incentive to treat their employees in a fairer manner.

 

Protests are facilitated

Another advantage of the internet is that people who want to protest against political regimes can organize much better. This is especially important in countries where the freedom of mind is suppressed.

 

Through the internet and a more sophisticated organization of protests, it is more likely that the general public will succeed with their protests and may even be able to force a political revolution in those regions, which may improve the living conditions of millions of people on our planet.

 

Improvements in information flows

In general, through the invention of the internet, information flows have been improved dramatically. Instead of writing letters like just a few centuries ago, we have now the opportunity to contact everyone we want via our smartphones in real time.

 

Since the apps that allow us to communicate like this are often free, even poor people may now be able to communicate via those devices and may be able to improve their living conditions due to that.

 

Increasing competition fosters global competition

Due to the internet and the facilitation of information flows, global competition has increased substantially. Ideas and strategies are shared quite frequently and money can also be collected from investors on a global scale.

 

Therefore, all this increases the level of global competition and companies will have to adjust their strategy to this phenomenon.

 

Even though some companies might get out of business due to this increase in competition, competition is generally a good thing since it forces companies to develop new ideas which will often be beneficial for humanity as a whole.

 

Lower product prices

Since information flows are quite sophisticated, the processes behind production processes as well as the logistics have become quite optimized. Therefore, the production costs have been lowered to an almost optimal level as well, which often translate to lower prices for our material goods. Therefore, we as customers are able to afford higher consumption levels compared to people who lived just a few decades ago.

 

Dangerous work can be done by machines

In some industries, especially in those that can be dangerous or quite exhausting for humans, it may be quite convenient to use a robot instead of workers.

 

For instance, when it comes to disarm a weapon, robots can do a great job and humans do not have to get themselves into danger of physical harm or even death.

 

With the progress of technology and artificial intelligence, the use of machines will spread across industries, which may protect workers in dangerous working areas.

 

Autonomous driving

The internet also plays a major role in the development and the operation of self-driving vehicles. Autonomous driving only works if cars are able to communicate with each other via the internet in order to be able to navigate safely through the traffic.

 

Thus, the whole autonomous driving industry heavily relies on the proper functioning of the internet.

 

Smart homes

Another trend that has come up just a few years ago is the construction of smart homes. Smart homes are basically meant to connect our household devices so that we can access information on them via the internet. At an advanced stage, those devices might even be able to carry out some tasks on themselves, like ordering food in case the supply in the fridge is under a minimum level.

 

However, in order to work properly, internet access is crucial for smart homes. Therefore, the internet may also provide us to make our lives significantly easier with those smart home devices in the near future.

 

Necessary for the progress in artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence will play a major role in the future of mankind. Through the use of AI, we will be able to make things possible which we could not even imagine right now. However, since artificial intelligence heavily relies on big data, the information sharing that can be accomplished through the use of the internet is crucial.

 

Thus, the internet will also be essential to improve our technologies even further and to make artificial intelligence a major tool to improve our overall quality of life in the future on a global scale.

 

Better access to education

Another upside of the internet is that it gives people all over the world easy access to education. For instance, you could learn basically everything by just watching YouTube videos. This is not only true for basic school education, but also for more advanced stuff like coding, web design and much more.

 

Therefore, especially children in poor developing countries could greatly benefit from this easy access to education, since they are often not able to afford school but could teach themselves a lot through the internet as long as they have access to a computer from time to time.

 

This may give millions of people all over the world the opportunity to get out of poverty if they work hard and educate themselves in order to learn skills that are needed in our rich Western world.

May increase opportunities also for poor people

In general, many people, especially in poor countries of our planet, have been trapped in poverty for decades. Many of them had to work quite hard just to survive without ever having the chances to get out of their misery.

 

However, with the invention of the internet and the education channels that are now accessible, people can work at day and study at night.

 

By doing so, some of them will actually be able to get a better job and to eventually get out of poverty in the long run.

 

Automation of processes

Also many companies greatly benefit from the invention of the internet. Through the use of the internet, many processes have been automized, which not only increases the speed regarding the delivery time of products but also lowers the costs per unit in the production process. Therefore, in some industries, companies have been able to get a competitive advantage through the use of the internet.

 

Increase in profits

Some companies may also have been able to increase their profits. Through the use of the internet, some companies had been able to become really big and to beat their competition. By doing so, they had been able to gain market power and to increase their profit margins. Therefore, for companies which adjusted to the trend of digitalization, golden times may wait for them in the future.

 

We may all have to work less

An additional benefit of the internet is that it may allow us to work fewer hours on average in the future. If more work can be carried out by machines, less physical work is needed, which may translate in a state where workers may have more days off.

 

This may increase our quality of life since we would be able to spend more time with our families or on our hobbies.

 

New job opportunities

With the introduction of the internet on a global scale, plenty of new job opportunities have been created. For instance, you can now make a living just out of posting cat videos or through blogging.

 

A few days ago, our ancestors didn’t have this opportunity at all. For instance, you could work at your job during the day and work at your blog in the evening.

 

Eventually, you might be able to earn enough money to quit your full-time job and to go full-time with blogging if this is what you enjoy more. Therefore, the overall job opportunities greatly improved with then invention of the internet.

 

Teleworking

The invention of the internet of things also made it possible to stay at home and engage in teleworking rather than to attend the office in physical form. Teleworking gives people the opportunity to work in a more flexible manner and also to save time which would otherwise be lost for commuting purposes. The internet also facilitates video conferences and business trips will be less needed in the future.

 

Better compatibility of family and work

Through teleworking and other tools that have become possible through the invention of the internet, it is now much easier to assure the compatibility of work and family. For instance, if you are able to stay at home a few days per week, it will be much easier to look after your children and to work at the same time instead of having to organize a nanny.

 

Good medium to share your thoughts

The internet also provides everyone of use to share our opinions and thoughts on several topics. This is quite enjoyable since you can express yourself and also share the things that you feel are important with the rest of the world. You might also be able to find people with similar interests and form groups to accomplish your personal goals.

 

Improvements in entertainment

Overall, also the quality of entertainment significantly increased with the invention of the internet. It is now possible to watch all movies through streaming services at home at your couch anytime you want to for a relatively small monthly fee.

 

In general, the variety of entertainment media vastly increased through the invention of the internet and it will continue to do so in the future since everyone of us is basically free to upload videos or to start a blog.

 

Real-time communication possible

Another big advantage of the internet is that it allows real-time communication on a global scale.

 

This can be useful in all kinds of fields. For instance, if presidents want to talk to each other regarding important topics, they can simply set up a video conference instead of travelling long distance by plane. This may give an important time advantage.

 

Moreover, it is also possible for employees in companies to talk to their clients via real-time communication channels or to do video conferences.

 

Thus, this kind of real-time communication has many important benefits which are only possible due to the access of people to the internet on a global scale.

 

Uncomplicated wire transfers and online banking

Also our banking behavior changed significantly over time. Just a few decades ago, it was almost impossible to carry out international wire transfers. Now, it is possible to carry out these transactions just from your home without even having to attend your bank anymore.

 

Moreover, in general, online banking has facilitated our money flows quite a lot and it is far more convenient and also more cost-efficient compared to attending a bank counter.

 

Convenient shopping

The trend away from shopping malls and towards online shopping has increased dramatically over the past decades. It is now possible to shop all your things you want from your home instead of having to attend shopping malls. For instance, say you work in a quite demanding job.

 

You work quite long hours every day and the shops are already closed when you leave your office. In this case, you could still shop everything you need online since online shops are usually available 24/7.

 

Thus, online shopping may be a quite convenient and effective way for people compared to attending shops in physical form.

 

Efficiency improvements

One thing that is true for several parts of our daily life is that the internet improved the level of efficiency quite a lot. Through sophisticated information flows, we are able to adjust our decisions in real-time and also do not have to spend plenty of time on unnecessary things anymore. Thus, we can use our time much more efficiently, which will be even more true in the future when many standardized tasks will be carried out by machines.

Problems of the Internet

  1. People may get lazy
  2. Unhealthy level of dependence on technology
  3. Mental problems
  4. Obesity
  5. Road traffic problems
  6. Privacy issues
  7. Cyber bullying
  8. Artificial intelligence could become a danger
  9. Many traditional companies will go out of business
  10. Job losses
  11. Some people may feel lost
  12. Inappropriate content for children
  13. Internet addiction
  14. The internet never forgets
  15. Fundamentalists may use it for their purposes
  16. Can be a big source of distraction
  17. Technology issues
  18. Internet fraud

People may get lazy

Although the internet has many important advantages, it also implies serious issues. For instance, people might become quite lazy over time since most of their work can be outsourced to machines in the near future.

 

This may lead to a state where people will no longer be used to hard work and in case technology fails, a large number of people may be quite helpless and may not be able to carry out the tasks of their daily life anymore.

 

Unhealthy level of dependence on technology

In general, we as humanity should not rely on technology in an unhealthy manner, meaning that we should keep a certain level of independence from the internet. This is important since in case technology is not working for some reason, we should still be able to live our lives. If the level of dependence on the internet is too high, we might be completely lost if technology fails for a certain period of time.

 

Mental problems

Another downside of the internet is that it might contribute to the development of mental problems. Many people may be overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information and people may no longer be able to process all this information in a healthy manner. This kind of mental overextension may lead to depression or other mental problems, which may significantly lower the quality of life for those people.

 

Obesity

The internet and the convenience that comes along with it may also contribute to a higher level of obesity, especially in our rich Western world. Since we are now able to order everything we want online, some people will suffer from a lack of exercise, which may translate into overweight or serious levels of obesity in the long run.

 

Road traffic problems

Some people also have quite short attention spans and often look on their smartphones while they walk through the traffic or even worse while they are driving a car. Thus, many people might not be able to focus on the traffic anymore, which may result in a higher number of traffic accidents. Therefore, the internet may also display a potential danger for people who are easily distracted by their electronic devices.

 

Privacy issues

Another important disadvantage of the internet is that our personal data is often used for customized advertising or other purposes we might not even be aware of when visiting certain websites.

 

Therefore, experts have many privacy concerns related to the internet and our data may end up at places we don’t want it to be.

 

Thus, there are significant privacy issues related to the use of the internet and everyone of us should try to protect his or her data in order to avoid unpleasant consequences.

 

Cyber bullying

Since the internet is a playing field that many people consider to be anonymous, some people also take advantage of this belief and use the internet for cyber bullying. This may be a special problem for celebrities since they will often receive plenty of insults or threats. However, also normal people can become victims to cyber bullying, which may lead to serious mental problems in the long run.

 

Artificial intelligence could become a danger

Although artificial intelligence has the potential to improve our global opportunities significantly, there are also some dangers related to it.

 

Some technology experts claim that in one point in time, machines will become more intelligent than humans and may take control over the world sooner or later.

 

For instance, Elon Musk once said that AI is one of the biggest threats to humanity and that we should be careful not to lose control over it.

 

Many traditional companies will go out of business

Another issue related to the invention of the internet is that many traditional companies which do not adapt to the technological progress might go out of business sooner or later.

 

More and more people buy things online and it is just a matter of time until conventional stores will no longer be competitive enough.

 

Thus, companies who are not willing or able to adjust to our technologized world will eventually be in serious trouble in the near future.

Job losses

Since many jobs will be carried out by machines in the near future, the internet may also imply job losses for people who currently work in quite standardized jobs. Thus, for those people, the internet might rather be a threat than a chance if they are not willing to educate themselves and to improve their digital knowledge.

 

Some people may feel lost

Some people might also feel quite lost in this kind of highly technologized state of the internet. Especially our older generations which haven’t grown up with the internet may have difficulties to adjust to it. Moreover, some people will also have problems in their jobs since they might not be mentally capable to use the latest technologies.

 

Inappropriate content for children

Although the internet offers plenty of education opportunities for children, it is also a place where everyone can share his or her content. Therefore, there is also plenty of content around which can be considered to be inappropriate for children.

 

Thus, in order to protect children from this kind of content, parents should take great care to lock certain website and should also frequently monitor what kinds of websites their kids visit.

 

Internet addiction

Since the internet has so much to offer, many people may even become addicted to the internet and may neglect their personal friendships and other connections to the outside world. In extreme cases, some people might even spend their whole day sitting in front of a computer instead of meeting other people in real life. This can lead to serious mental problems and social isolation in the long run.

 

The internet never forgets

There is a saying that the internet never forgets. And this is quite true. For instance, even if you delete your social media profiles, your pictures or other content might have been shared before and you will never be able to delete your entire digital footprint from the web.

 

Thus, you should be quite careful and restrictive regarding what kind of content you want to share with the world since chances are that it will be available on the internet forever.

 

Fundamentalists may use it for their purposes

Another problem with the internet is that it is also used by fundamentalist groups which communicate and coordinate their actions over certain platforms. Moreover, fundamentalists also often try to recruit others by using internet campaigns. Thus, if those groups are not detected early on, chances are that they might cause serious damage.

 

Can be a big source of distraction

Since there is so much entertainment and education available through the internet, it can be a great tool to improve your knowledge in all kinds of fields. However, it can also be a significant source of distraction and may even hurt your personal development.

 

For instance, if you watch cat videos all day long, chances are that your personal development might rather suffer compared to a fictional state where the internet didn’t exist.

 

Technology issues

Although our internet connections have become quite stable over time, there are still occasions where our digital technology fails. This may be quite harmless in most cases.

 

However, there is also some infrastructure out there where working technology is crucial in order to avoid serious issues. One prominent example are power plants.

 

In those facilities, it is crucial that the technology works properly, which often also includes a proper connection to the internet in order to be able to coordinate processes in an efficient and safe manner.

 

Thus, if the internet connection fails in those crucial infrastructural facilities, this may lead to serious issues or even to accidents.

 

Internet fraud

The internet is not only a great place for the general public, it is also an opportunity for people who want to steal personal data or who plan to commit any other sorts of internet fraud.

 

Thus, before using the internet, make sure to take security measures and to inform yourself in order to avoid becoming victim to those organized criminal organizations.

Top 10 Internet Pros & Cons - Summary List

Internet Pros

Convenience

Facilitates communication

Lower product prices

Increase in efficiency

Better learning opportunities

Higher chances to get out of poverty

Better job opportunities

Autonomous driving

Smart homes

Teleworking

Internet Cons

Laziness may increase

Level of independence may decrease

Cyber bullying

Communication platform for extremists

Internet addiction

Inappropriate content for children

Source of distraction

Technology problems

Obesity

Mental problems


Conclusion

There is no doubt that the internet is one of the greatest inventions of all time. It gives us numerous opportunities that our ancestors didn’t have a few decades ago. However, there are also many issues related to the use of the internet.

 

Therefore, make sure to inform and to protect yourself against those downsides. By doing so, you can enjoy all the upsides of the internet and protect yourself against unpleasant surprises at the same time.

Sources

About the author

 

My name is Andreas and my mission is to educate people of all ages about our environmental problems and how everyone can make a contribution to mitigate these issues.

 

As I went to university and got my Master's degree in Economics, I did plenty of research in the field of Development Economics.

 

After finishing university, I traveled around the world. From this time on, I wanted to make a contribution to ensure a livable future for the next generations in every part of our beautiful planet.

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